Annual Report: Central African Republic 2010

Report
May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Central African Republic 2010

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Head of state François Bozizé
Head of government Faustin Archange Touadéra
Death penalty abolitionist in practice
Population 4.4 million
Life expectancy 46.7 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f) 196/163 per 1,000
Adult literacy 48.6 per cent

Tens of thousands of people remained displaced inside the country while more than 130,000 lived as refugees in neighbouring countries as a result of armed conflict. Scores of civilians were unlawfully killed or injured by fighters. Members of the security forces enjoyed impunity for human rights violations. The International Criminal Court (ICC) made progress towards the trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba. People accused of witchcraft were tortured.

Background

Despite the December 2008 Inclusive Political Dialogue (Dialogue politique inclusif, DPI) to end armed conflict, fighting continued in the north and east of the country. In a new development, some of the armed clashes, which resulted in scores of civilian deaths and the displacement of thousands of people, involved members of rival ethnic groups. Much of the intercommunal violence took place in the north-west.

Units of the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF), supported by members of the Central African Armed Forces, carried out operations in eastern Central African Republic (CAR) against members of the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The UPDF reported that it captured or killed several senior LRA commanders, and freed civilians abducted by the armed group.

In July, the government signed a new peace accord in Sirte, Libya, with the leader of the Democratic Front for Central African People, although this failed to end hostilities between the two parties.

Major armed groups refused to implement a recommendation of the DPI to disarm, demobilize and reintegrate (DDR) their combatants. Several of them, including the Rally of the Union of Democratic Forces and the Popular Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy (Armée populaire pour la restauration de la démocratie, APRD) predicated their cooperation with the DDR programme on the disarmament of ethnic militia and Chadian armed groups in northern CAR.

UNICEF, the UN Children's Fund, announced in July that that it had helped demobilize about 180 child members of the APRD aged between 10 and 17 in Ouham-Pende province. In the same month, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, held a human rights workshop for members of the APRD, government forces and a regional peacekeeping force.

Several steps were taken to prepare for general elections in 2010. In June, the National Assembly adopted an electoral code. In August, President François Bozizé issued a decree establishing an independent electoral commission charged with preparing, organizing and supervising municipal, regional, legislative and presidential elections.

Peacekeeping operations

In March, the EU-led military force (EUFOR) deployed in Chad and northern CAR was replaced by a military component of the UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT). The UN Security Council had authorized the MINURCAT military component in January. Some 2,000 members of EUFOR stayed on under MINURCAT to provide peacekeeping cover while African and other countries took their place. However, the authorized MINURCAT strength of 5,225 had not been attained by the end of the year, while European countries continued to withdraw their troops.