Press briefing notes: Nelson Mandela, Central African Republic and Côte d’Ivoire

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Rupert Colville
Location: Geneva
Date: 6 December 2013

1) Nelson Mandela: Statement by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay

“Millions of people, including many who never met him, will feel deep personal sorrow at today’s news, since Nelson Mandela was perhaps the greatest moral leader of our time….

….In his last address to the UN General Assembly in September 1998, he noted how the Universal Declaration had validated the struggle against apartheid, but also posed the challenge that “our freedom, once achieved, should be dedicated to the implementation of the perspectives contained in the Declaration.”

He himself never swerved from those perspectives. A truly remarkable man, whose example should never be forgotten.”

To read Navi Pillay’s full personal tribute to Nelson Mandela, go to:

2) Central African Republic

We are extremely concerned at the deterioration of the security situation, especially in Bangui and Bossangoa, where yesterday dozens of people, including at least seven children, were killed. Hundreds of other people were injured.
On Thursday, between 4:00 and 5:00 am, coordinated attacks with heavy weapons were reported to have taken place in four areas of Bangui, including Camp Kassai. These attacks are alleged to have been carried out by self-defence militias, known as anti-Balaka, with support from well-equipped but as yet unidentified elements. Several ex-Séléka officers are reported to have been killed during the attacks which lasted several hours.

In retaliation, Muslim civilians were allegedly given weapons by the ex-Séléka forces and retaliatory attacks between Christians and Muslim communities were reported in numerous locations in the capital. Ex-Séléka soldiers reportedly executed 10 people in a hospital.

Our staff on the ground saw numerous bodies, including those of children, as well as wounded people in hospitals.

We weclome the adoption on Thursday of the Security Council resolution 2127 which authorizes the deployment of an African led International Support Mission (MISCA) to the Central African Republic as well as the deployment of French forces to support MISCA. We also welcome the fact that the resolution requests the establishment of an international commission of inquiry to investigate reports of human rights abuses by all parties since 1 January 2013 and to help identify perpetrators of such violations and abuses, and ensure that those responsible are held accountable.

We plan to deploy a human rights monitoring team to CAR early next week to strengthen the existing monitoring capacity of the human rights section of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA).

3) Côte d’Ivoire

We are today releasing a joint report calling for investigations into serious human rights abuses committed by traditional hunters called Dozos between March 2009 and May 2013 in Côte d’Ivoire.

The report, by the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) in cooperation with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for human rights (OHCHR), documents serious human rights abuses committed by Dozos while undertaking security activities, These include violations of the right to life, including extrajudicial killings and summary executions, illegal arrest and detentions, looting and extortions.

The investigations carried out by the Human Rights Division of UNOCI showed that at least 228 people were killed, 164 others injured by bullets, machete and knives, and 162 arbitrarily arrested and illegally detained by Dozos between March 2009 and May 2013. In addition, 274 cases of looting, arson and extortion committed by the Dozos have been verified and confirmed.

A full press release, with a link to the report (which is in French), will be available shortly on

For further information and media requests, please contact Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9767 or + 41 79 506 1088 /, Ravina Shamdasani (+41 22 917 9169 / or Cécile Pouilly (+41 22 917 9310 or +41 79 618 3430 / )

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