Central African Republic Military Blocks Human Rights Investigation

The UN’s independent expert on human rights issues in the Central African Republic (CAR) said the country’s government and its Russian ally should stop obstructing the investigation.

Independent expert Yao Agbetse said the CAR military and Russian mercenaries believed to be responsible for nearly half of the country’s human rights abuses had prevented UN investigators from accessing it.

Clashes are still raging in the Central African Republic countryside, where the national army, along with Russian mercenaries, last year chased rebels who attacked the capital, Bangui.

Over the past four months, at least 229 civilians have been killed, according to a recent UN report. But that figure is too small, as UN investigators are barred from revealing various alleged crimes.

The United Nations recently sent its independent human rights expert Yao Agbetse to Bangui, with a message for the Central African government to set boundaries that the country cannot cross.

Agbetse said that if the UN side is prevented from accessing the places where the violations were committed, it means the CAR government doesn’t want the truth to come out.

The United Nations says it has documented at least four cases of mass executions since October, most of them occurring around mining sites. [ps/lt]