BANGUI/GENEVA (5 August 2022) - Armed groups in the Central African Republic (CAR) must lay down their arms and engage
in political dialogue, a UN expert said today, urging the international community to strengthen efforts to restore State
authority and end impunity in the country.
“I vehemently condemn the obstinacy of the Coalition of Patriots for Change and other armed groups who continue to
spread terror, insecurity and suffering among the civilian population and victims of violations and abuses,” said Yao
Agbetse. the UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Central African Republic (CAR).
At the conclusion of his ten-day official visit to CAR, Agbetse said he was dismayed by reports from residents in the
town of Bria, capital of the Haute-Kotto prefecture, describing the ease with which armed groups connect to neighbouring
The Independent expert said schools in the regions of Ouadda, Yalinga, and Sam-Ouandja, had remained closed for four
In the prefectures of Mbomou and Haute Kotto, the Union for Peace in the Central African Republic (UPC) and the Front Populaire pour la Renaissance en Centrafrique (FPRC) have been responsible for numerous grave human rights violations, including sexual violence, particularly rape and
sexual slavery, mostly of girls between the ages of 11-17. Mahamat Salleh, an FPRC leader based in Nzako, has been
implicated in several cases of rape and other serious human rights abuses, Agbetse said.
Calling on armed groups to lay down their arms in the best interest of the Central African population, the UN expert
urged these groups to engage in political dialogue and the peace and reconciliation process led by the Commission on
Truth, Justice, Reparation and Reconciliation (CVJRR).
Referring to the brutal, organised attack on the village of Boyo in December 2021, the expert said human rights
violations committed by the CAR national army (FACA) and the internal security forces (FSI) and their auxiliaries were
Russian allies and the FACA had allegedly provided support and backing to the “Anti-Balaka” militia who committed
atrocities in Boyo, including beheadings and sexual violence, and forced thousands of residents to flee.
“The seriousness of these facts requires appropriate responses from national authorities towards the victims,” Agbetse
said. “I recommend that the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic
(MINUSCA) set up a more reactive warning system and regular joint operations with the FACA to prevent tragedies like the
one in Boyo,” he said.
The UN expert also demanded that Russian mercenaries of the Wagner security group refrain from obstructing collaboration
and joint operations between FACA, FSI and UN peacekeepers assigned to MINUSCA. “The Wagner group must not prevent the
deployment of MINUSCA protection operations and not obstruct the investigation of human rights abuses and violations of
International Humanitarian Law,” Agbetse said.
At the conclusion of his visit to CAR, Agbetse recommended that all allegations of violations of human rights and
international humanitarian law be systematically and thoroughly investigated by the Central African authorit ies.
“These investigations must be followed by concrete actions to ensure that the victims have access to justice,” he said.
The expert said the establishment of a reparation fund was also fundamental to ensuring justice for victims.
He strongly recommended extraordinary judicial sessions to tackle the heavy caseload of sexual violence crimes linked to
the conflict. Amicable settlements in cases of conflict-related sexual violence were unjust to victims, and must be
stopped, Agbetse said.
The expert noted that several testimonies and reports indicated a lack of control and accountability within the state
apparatus, including the judiciary, police and gendarmerie, and the civil service in general. He also called on
Authorities to address the issue of hate speech and incitement to violence.
Agbetse called on the international community to strengthen its support to the CAR to ensure that the restoration of
State authority is effective.
Mr. Yao Agbetse (Togo), Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Central African Republic,
is a human rights lawyer, researcher and teacher who has devoted the last 25 years of his life to justice and human
rights, including the rights of the child. He has implemented human rights programs at the national level and has
provided legal and technical advice for the development and monitoring of national human rights laws and policies,
particularly in Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and Togo. He has created a space and
tools for dialogue and joint efforts by state actors and CSOs. In the DRC, Côte d'Ivoire and Mali, it has implemented
DDR programs, trained army and police chiefs, and provided support to mandate-holders and United Nations operations,
including participating in the interactive dialogue under item 10 during sessions of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
He provided first-hand and factual information to UN experts to help them assess human rights challenges in different
countries and made specific and workable recommendations to ensure accountability and access to Justice.
The mandate of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Central African Republic
was established by the Human Rights Council on 27 September 2013.