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#Central African Republic (CAR)

#Central African Republic (CAR)

Armed confrontations continue to affect the country and security remains one of the major concerns for human rights defenders (HRDs). Today, Central African Republic is a country divided in two: the east and north are still occupied by a coalition of armed groups known as Seleka, accused of serious human rights violations, while anti-Balaka violence against Muslim populations continues to rage both in Bangui and the west of the country.

Since the civil war erupted in December 2012, a general atmosphere of fear and insecurity continues to prevail for HRDs. Like the civilian population, they are extremely affected by the conflict and targeted by all parties. HRDs and journalists who denounced human rights violations by the armed groups, including looting of property, torture, forced recruitment of child soldiers, rape and murder, have faced death threats, serious harassment and intimidation, torture, rape and killings. Many human rights organisations have had their offices ransacked by the armed rebels who wished to destroy any evidence of the human rights violations committed by their members.

Media offices and radio stations were also regularly the target of raids by both Seleka and anti-Balaka rebels, each armed group accusing them of siding with the enemy. As a result, several leaders of human rights organisations and journalists have gone into hiding, while others have fled the country for their own security. When HRDs reported such incidents of looting and violence to the police, in most cases the responsible persons have not been brought to justice and impunity prevails. Furthermore, HRDs and journalists who denounced human rights violations by government soldiers, also regularly faced arbitrary arrests, judicial harassment, death threats, intimidatory acts and slander.