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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Annan "gravely concerned" about rampant insecurity

NAIROBI, 7 January 2004 (IRIN) - UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan says he is "gravely concerned" by the re-emergence of rapes, hold-ups, and violations of the right to life being perpetrated in the hinterland of the Central African Republic (CAR) and in its capital, Bangui, and is appealing to the international community to lend its support to efforts to restore security.

In his latest report, covering the period from July to December 2003, Annan called on the international community for a "gracious response" to the UN's consolidated annual appeal for both humanitarian and electoral assistance to the CAR.

"If this concern is not taken into account, the Central African Republic will return to a situation of instability, with incalculable consequences for its people and the entire subregion, where peace remains fragile," he said.

Annan said gaining control of the security situation remained an essential prerequisite for the normal functioning of the state and the holding of elections. To this end, he said it was "essential that deployment of the defence and security forces be supplemented by a strengthened CEMAC [Central African Economic and Monetary Community] multinational force, both in terms of equipment and troops, so that it can operate in the interior of the country while also helping to restore security to Bangui".

Also important was the regular payment of salaries to civil servants and state officials.

Despite the deterioration of the human rights situation, however, Annan noted that some positive developments had nonetheless been observed: the acceleration of the process of reintegrating former military and civilian refugees; the definitive lifting, on 31 October, of the curfew that had been in place since 15 March; the strengthening of the process of re-establishing the National Human Rights Commission; the government's issuance, on 23 August, of birth certificates to 97 pygmy children, thereby effectively recognising them as CAR citizens and affirming their civil rights; and the representation of ethnic minorities on the National Transition Council and in the national dialogue.

The report, made public on Tuesday, places emphasis on the national dialogue held from 15 September to 27 October 2003 and on the urgency of implementing the recommendations adopted.

The CAR suffered internal unrest from October 2002 until March 2003, when the former army chief of staff, Francois Bozize, overthrew President Ange-Felix Patasse in a coup.

[For the complete report, go to:]


Themes: (IRIN) Conflict



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