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The UN  Security Council has  extended the mandate of the United Nations peacebuilding office in Central African Republic , authorized the use of force by European Union troops, and added travel bans and asset freezes to an arms embargo already in place.

This is in response to widespread human rights violations and the “increasing cycle of violence and retaliations causing death of civilians.

The 15-member Council unanimously adopted a new resolution expressing deep concern at the “continuing deterioration of the security situation in the CAR” which it said is characterized by a “total breakdown in law and order, the absence of the rule of law, religiously motivated targeted killings and arson.”

Central African Republic
By the text, the Council extended the mandate of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the CAR (BINUCA) through 31 January 2015, to support for the implementation of the transition process by expediting the re-establishment of constitutional order and implementing the 2013 Libreville agreements which resulted in a temporary ceasefire and created a unity Government in which opposition figures were given key posts.

The rebels claimed the Government failed to live up to its commitments, and the conflict reignited resulting in thousands of people killed in the past 10 months in violence that has recently taken on increasingly sectarian overtones, with mainly Christian militias, known as anti-Balaka (anti-machete), taking up arms against an alliance of mainly Muslim rebel groups – known, collectively, as ‘Séléka.’

Included in today’s resolution is a call on CAR’s transitional government, led by newly appointed Catherine Samba-Panza, the former mayor of the capital city of Bangui, to speed up, with BINUCA’s support, progress towards “free and fair” elections. Those are to be held not later than February 2015, and if possible, in the second half of 2014.

The Council members also called for the holding of national dialogue, in close coordination with the UN office, to promote reconciliation.

Included also in BINUCA’s mandate is support for conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance, and promotion and protection of human rights.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, supported by the UN human rights office and other UN entities, has described the human suffering in the country as “a crisis of epic proportions.”