UN condemns violence, extends sanctions on CAfrican Republic

The UN Security Council condemned ongoing violence and instability in Central African Republic on Tuesday in a resolution extending an arms embargo on the country and sanctions on individuals and entities for a year.

The resolution adopted unanimously by the council also condemns acts of incitement to violence that undermine peace, especially “on an ethnic or religious basis,” and says for the first time that those responsible could face sanctions.

The council also reiterated that sanctions can be imposed for a host of other reasons including undermining peace or security in CAR, violating international human rights and humanitarian law, directing or committing acts involving sexual or gender-based violence, and supporting criminal networks.

Central African Republic has been wracked by violence between Muslims and Christians since predominantly Muslim Seleka rebels overthrew the Christian president in March 2013 and seized power.

Anti-Balaka militias, mostly Christians, fought back, resulting in thousands of deaths, the displacement of hundreds of thousands more, and the flight of many Muslims to the country’s north and across the border into Chad and Cameroon.

Despite peaceful elections in early 2016, sectarian violence has moved into the impoverished country’s central and southeastern regions, prompting warnings of a national conflict roaring back to life.

France’s UN Ambassador Francois Delattre, whose country drafted the resolution, called the incitement of violence based on religion or ethnicity, and attacks against humanitarian workers and UN peacekeepers “a scourge for the CAR.”

“The perpetrators of these calls for violence must henceforth know that their acts will not go unpunished,” he said.

Delattre stressed that “there can be no lasting peace in the CAR if this continues.”

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