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State of the World's Minorities and Indigenous Peoples 2010 - Central African Republic

Publisher Minority Rights Group International
Publication Date 1 July 2010
Cite as Minority Rights Group International, State of the World's Minorities and Indigenous Peoples 2010 - Central African Republic, 1 July 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4c33311c2d.html [accessed 25 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

The Preamble to the 2004 Constitution of the Central African Republic (CAR) emphasizes that CAR is a state that guarantees security of persons and property and protects the most vulnerable, minorities in particular. USCIRF reported that, in spite of constitutional prohibition of discrimination, indigenous groups experienced multiple cases of discrimination with regard to the right to property, natural resources and citizenship. The report specifically noted that there is:

'societal discrimination against Pygmies (Ba'Aka and Baninga).... They continued to have little say in decisions affecting their lands, culture, traditions, and the allocation of natural resources. Forest-dwelling Ba'Aka, in particular, were subject to social and economic discrimination and exploitation, which the government has done little to prevent. Despite repeated promises, the government took no steps to issue and deliver identity cards to Pygmies, lack of which, according to many human rights groups, effectively denied them access to greater civil rights.'

The CAR, however, appears to be taking some steps to ameliorate the challenges faced by minority and indigenous groups. With support from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the ILO, the government has sought to enact legislation that provides for affirmative action for minorities, similar to the law adopted in 2007 by the Republic of Congo. These efforts failed to bear fruit in 2009. In 2008, CAR adopted a National Plan for Education for All, to increase access to education from 10 per cent to 80 per cent for 'minority groups' ('Pygmy', Mbororo and handicapped children and children living in mining areas). However this policy has yet to be implemented.

The CAR Constitution provides for freedom of religion, although it prohibits what the government considers to be religious fundamentalism or intolerance. USCIRF 2009 reported that the government generally respected religious freedom in practice.

USCIRF further reported on the state's continued ban since 2007 of Eglise Jehova Sabaot, an African independent church, on the basis that its leadership was involved in various criminal operations. Although Eglise Jehova Sabaot public worship has been derailed by this closure, members continued to meet at private residences with little state interference.

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