Human rights

The 2009 Human Rights Report by the United States Department of State noted that human rights in CAR were poor and expressed concerns over numerous government abuses.

The U.S. State Department alleged that major human rights abuses such as extrajudicial executions by security forces, torture, beatings and rape of suspects and prisoners occurred with impunity.

It also alleged harsh and life-threatening conditions in prisons and detention centers, arbitrary arrest, prolonged pretrial detention and denial of a fair trial, restrictions on freedom of movement, official corruption, and restrictions on workers’ rights.

The State Department report also cites widespread mob violence, the prevalence of female genital mutilation, discrimination against women and Pygmies, human trafficking, forced labor, and child labor.

Freedom of movement is limited in the northern part of the country “because of actions by state security forces, armed bandits, and other nonstate armed entities”, and due to fighting between government and anti-government forces many people have been internally displaced.

Violence against children and women in relation to accusations of witchcraft has also been cited as a serious problem in the country. Witchcraft is a criminal offense under the penal code.

Freedom of speech is addressed in the country’s constitution, but there have been incidents of government intimidation of the media.

A report by the International Research & Exchanges Board’s media sustainability index noted that “the country minimally met objectives, with segments of the legal system and government opposed to a free media system”.

Approximately 68% of girls are married before they turn 18, and the United Nations’ Human Development Index ranked the country 188 out of 188 countries surveyed.

The Bureau of International Labor Affairs has also mentioned it in its last edition of the List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor.