UNHCR warns against forcible returns to CAR amid violence and abusesListen /
United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) says refugees who have fled the Central African Republic should not be forcibly returned home.
The agency warns that the security situation in the country remains fluid and dangerous with widespread human rights abuses and a deteriorating humanitarian situation.
The situation in the CAR has worsened since December 2012 when the Seleka rebel forces launched a series of attacks in the north of the country before taking over the capital Bangui in late March.
Initial estimates put the number of those internally displaced by the violence at over 173,000 while about 50,000 have fled the country into neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad and Cameroon.
Adrian Edwards is the spokesperson for UNHCR
"Many people fleeing CAR are likely to meet the OAU Convention and 1951 Convention criteria for refugee status. In the wake of the offensive, targeted killings, arbitrary arrests and detention, torture and recruitment of children have been widely reported. Rape, disappearances, kidnappings, as well as extortion and looting in Bangui and other parts of the country are also being reported. Humanitarian access to the people affected remains severely restricted. Our aim through issuing this advisory is to see that humanitarian and asylum principles are upheld until conditions in CAR allow for safe and dignified returns."
Humanitarian aid agencies have scaled down their operations in the Central African Republic due to insecurity.
Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva