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International Women’s Day Should Prompt Real Reforms

As 2020 drew to a close, protesters across South Asia took to the streets, calling on their governments to take widespread sexual violence against women and children seriously, and to implement real reforms. But rather than listening to experts and…
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Death Penalty Push Ignores Real Solutions to Regional Failings

(New York) – South Asian governments should disregard populist death penalty rhetoric and listen to their own experts to prevent and end sexual violence against women, Human Rights Watch said in a video released today. Experts on sexual violence from…
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Killings, Disappearances, Recruitment of Children as Soldiers Go Unpunished

(Bogotá) – Armed groups have committed egregious abuses against Colombian and Venezuelan civilians as they fight for control in Catatumbo, northeastern Colombia, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The 64-page report, “…
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I can’t stop thinking about Marie. She was 30 years old when I met her in 2015. Two years earlier, six fighters armed with rifles and machetes burst into her home in the capital of the Central African Republic, Bangui. Two of the fighters held her…
Josephine, 28, said she fled her home in Bangui with her husband and five young children due to fighting in the city in October 2014. When she returned to her neighborhood to collect clothes and dishes for the family, three anti-balaka stopped her and t
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Victims of Sexual Violence Need More Support to Continue Education

In 2015, as conflict raged in the Central African Republic, Evelyne (not her real name) was returning from selling cassava leaves near Boda, in the country’s southwest, when an anti-balaka fighter threw her on the ground, raped her, and…
Josephine, 28, said she fled her home in Bangui with her husband and five young children due to fighting in the city in October 2014. When she returned to her neighborhood to collect clothes and dishes for the family, three anti-balaka stopped her and t
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UN Peacekeeping Mission Faces Renewal, Needs Expansion

(Nairobi) – Violence threatening civilians has surged in recent months in the Central African Republic’s south-central and southeastern regions. To protect people at risk, the United Nations Security Council should renew the mandate of the UN…
Anti-Balaka fighters in Gambo, Mboumou province, Central African Republic, on August 16, 2017.
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When an armed group attacked “Irène’s” home in the Central African Republic, fighters shot her husband in both legs as he tried to flee, and tied their five-year-old daughter to a post when she began to cry. “Irène,” 36, held her palms over her eyes as…
Angèle, 27 ans, serre son enfant dans ses bras à Bangui, en République centrafricaine. Les combattants de la Séléka ont tué son mari et ses parents, avant de la capturer près de Bambari en juin 2014, a-t-elle raconté. Ils l’ont détenue en tant qu’esclave
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Widespread Rape, Sexual Slavery by Armed Groups

(New York) – Armed groups in the Central African Republic have used rape and sexual slavery as a tactic of war across the country during nearly five years of conflict, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Commanders have…
Josephine, 28, said she fled her home in Bangui with her husband and five young children due to fighting in the city in October 2014. When she returned to her neighborhood to collect clothes and dishes for the family, three anti-balaka stopped her and t
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Summary We spent a week there. [The anti-balaka] raped us every day…. We had become their “wives.” It was us who prepared the food…. At any moment, they would want to sleep with you and, if you resisted, they threatened to kill you….…
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Armed groups in the Central African Republic have used rape and sexual slavery as a tactic of war across the country during nearly five years of conflict. Commanders have tolerated widespread sexual violence by their forces and, in some cases, appear to…
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UN Secretary-General Calls for Safe Abortion Access

At today’s United Nations Security Council debate, member states will discuss the secretary-general’s annual report on sexual violence in conflict. In this year’s annual report, the secretary-general recognizes sexual and reproductive…
A sign emphasizing the importance of healthcare and protection for survivors of sexual violence at a hospital in Kaga Bandoro, Central African Republic.
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Repeated Sexual Exploitation and Abuse

(Nairobi) – Ugandan soldiers in the Central African Republic have sexually exploited or abused at least 13 women and girls since 2015, including at least one rape, and threatened some victims to remain silent, Human Rights Watch said today. The Ugandan…
“Karin,” a 15-year-old girl in Obo who was eight months pregnant at the time of photo.
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Human Rights Watch is a nonprofit, nongovernmental human rights organization made up of roughly 400 staff members around the globe. Its staff consists of human rights professionals including country experts, lawyers, journalists, and academics of diverse…
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Investigate, Prosecute Peacekeepers Accused of Sexual Assault

Thérèse, a 14-year-old in the Central African Republic, probably doesn’t know that defense ministers from around the globe will meet in London on Thursday this week to discuss United Nations peacekeeping. But she has a stake in what happens there. …
A United Nations peacekeeper stands alongside a road near the refugee camp of Saint Sauveur, in the Central African Republic capital, Bangui, November 29, 2015.
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The attack started while she was drawing water for her family. “Sophie,” then 20 years old, was returning to her home in Bambari, in Central African Republic (CAR), when she heard that the Seleka, mostly Muslim fighters who had ousted the previous…
A sign emphasizing the importance of healthcare and protection for survivors of sexual violence at a hospital in Kaga Bandoro, Central African Republic.
News
Despite their mandate to maintain peace and protect people in war-torn countries, some UN peacekeepers have themselves been abusers. Highly publicized allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers in the Central African Republic have…
Women walk by a United Nations peacekeeping armored vehicle guarding the outer perimeter of a school used as an electoral center at the end of the presidential and legislative elections, in the mostly muslim PK5 neighborhood of Bangui.