Violence in the Central African Republic

Statement

By:  John Kerry
Date: Dec. 26, 2013
Location: Washington, DC

The United States is alarmed by the December 24 and 25 attacks in the Central African Republic (C.A.R.) by both Seleka and Anti-Balaka fighters against civilian populations in the capital Bangui. These attacks resulted in dozens of deaths, including several MISCA troops, and the large-scale displacement of those living in the northern part of the city.

We were deeply disturbed by the discovery on December 26 in Bangui of a mass grave containing over 20 bodies. The continued sectarian fighting only deepens the country's wounds and makes reconciliation more difficult. The United States calls on the C.A.R. transitional authorities to immediately end the violence, end the use of torture, and investigate and prosecute all those implicated in grave human rights abuses.

The United States believes that this crisis can only be resolved through a political process that leads to fair and inclusive elections as soon as possible, but not later than February 2015, so that C.A.R. can have a legitimate government that represents the will of the people.

The United States commends the African Union-led stabilization mission in the C.A.R., MISCA, and the French forces operating as part of Operation Sangaris, for their commitment to ending the violence and establishing an environment in which a political transition to a democratically elected government can take place. We are confident the French and MISCA forces will act robustly to protect equally all civilian populations, regardless of ethnic or religious affiliation.

We call on the C.A.R. transitional authorities to take every possible step to end violence and promote reconciliation and to provide all necessary support to MISCA and French troops in their efforts to disarm both Seleka and Anti-Balaka groups and to allow for unhindered humanitarian access to those in need.

As President Obama said, "Every citizen of the Central African Republic can show the courage that's needed right now. You can show your love for your country by rejecting the violence that would tear it apart. You can choose peace."