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Action needed in Central African Republic

Ross Robertson
Associate Spokesperson for Disarmament
(Small Arms and Light Weapons)

6 September 2013

Action needed in Central African Republic

Labour’s Associate Disarmament spokesperson and President of Parliamentarians for Global Action, Ross Robertson, has drawn the government’s attention to the deteriorating situation in the Central African Republic.

“Since a coup in March the country has been facing a security and humanitarian crisis with serious human rights violations and international crimes being committed by the rebels. Those include rapes, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, torture, abuse and the use of forcible or voluntary enlistment of children in armed groups,” said Ross Robertson.

“Hundreds have been killed and more than 200,000 forced to flee their homes. The nutritional and health status of the population is seriously deteriorating, with the UN estimating that there are 1.5 million Central African Republic nationals in need of protection and humanitarian assistance.

“Given this extremely worrying situation, international bodies are struggling to find an adequate answer to put an end to these abuses and to ensure appropriate humanitarian response to the population.

“Parliamentarians for Global Action is continuing to support its members in the Central African Republic, who were democratically elected but currently are unable to play any part in the governance of their country.”

Mr Robertson said he had lodged a Notice of Motion in Parliament calling on the government to work with the UN towards a lasting peace in the Central African Republic.

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He had also raised the issue with the Minister of Foreign Affairs (see attached), asking what New Zealand planned to do - in conjunction with the UN and the relevant regional organisations - towards restoring security and law, providing effective humanitarian assistance to the civilian populations; and preventing and punishing the serious international crimes and human rights violations in that country.

ENDS

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