News reports coming out of the Central African Republic point to an alarming increase of sexual violence. With over 1100 confirmed cases of sexual violence this month, officials fear the current situation has grown to “astronomical” proportions.
Figures reported from within the Central African Republic are scarce since political unrest sparked religious militia violence throughout the country. “Cases of sexual violence and other abuses, including rape and sexual slavery, by both sides… [are] also documented.” says Ms. Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. A report published by Human Rights Watch last September details the mass violence and now UN officials warn the “seeds of genocide” are present.
In the wake of more than one million internally displaced persons, the nation is struggling for stability and an end to the violence. Catherine Samba-Panza, newly elected Interim President, urged the African Union and EU countries to send peacekeepers and aid the security situation. Amidst the concerns of CAR authorities, violence against women caught in the crossfires must not go unnoticed.
CAR: Number of sexual violence cases “astronomical”, UN Regional Information Centre for Western Europe, 20 January 2014
UN expert warns Central African Republic at risk of genocide, Deutsche Welle, 23 January 2014
In CAR, ‘If they saw a woman they wanted, they just took her’, Women Under Seige, 5 December 2013
Central African Republic: Catherine Samba-Panza seeks troops, BBC News, 21 January 2014
Central African Republic wants U.N. force as EU troops OKed, Reuters, 28 January 2014.
Read the Statement by UN High Comissioner for Human Rights in a Special Session on the Situation of Human Rights in the Central African Republic.
Download the full-report, “I can Still Smell the Dead”: The Forgotten Human Rights Crisis in the Central African Republic.