Amnesty Urges AU to Stop Abuses in Central African Republic

Posted October 20th, 2011 at 1:20 am (UTC-5)
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A leading human rights group is urging the African Union to lead a coordinated effort to bring an end to decades of human rights abuses in the Central African Republic.

Amnesty International said Thursday that civilians are being killed, abducted, tortured and raped by at least 14 different armed groups that operate with impunity in the country.

Amnesty says local and foreign armed groups, including the Ugandan guerilla group known as the Lord's Resistance Army , are taking advantage of the country's “justice vacuum” to carry out possible war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Last week, the United States announced the deployment of about 100 troops to central Africa to support the regional fight against the LRA in the Central African Republic, as well as Uganda, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Amnesty's Central Africa Researcher Godfrey Byaruhanga told VOA he hopes the U.S. troops would make a difference, but that “piecemeal initiatives” by different governments are likely to fail.

The group is calling for the African Union's Peace and Security Council to take the lead in building a coalition to protect human rights in the country.

Amnesty says the Central African Republic's government security forces are ill-equipped and poorly trained, and that the government is either “incapable or unwilling to take action to protect its citizens.”

The report also criticized the country's government for failing to prosecute members of the government security forces who commit human rights abuses.