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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…
News

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.
News

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.
News

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.
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Today’s International Criminal Court (ICC) conviction of a former Democratic Republic of Congo vice president was both a victory for sexual violence victims and a stark warning to senior commanders who turn a blind eye while their troops rape and commit…
Former Congo vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba looks up when sitting in the courtroom of the International Criminal Court to stand trial in The Hague, Netherlands, September 29, 2015.
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New Report Reveals Lack of Justice, Protection for Victims

(New York) – The United Nations and its member countries should do more to investigate and prosecute peacekeepers who commit sexual exploitation and abuse, and to support the survivors, Human Rights Watch said today. In his annual report on special…
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.
News

UN, Troop-Contributing Countries Should Hold Abusers Accountable

(Nairobi) – United Nations peacekeepers in the Central African Republic raped or sexually exploited at least eight women and girls between October and December 2015. Among the survivors are a 14-year-old girl and an 18-year-old woman who said peacekeepers…
A MINUSCA base behind the Bambari airport, Central African Republic. From September to December 2015 members of the UN peacekeepers from the Republic of Congo guarded the airport and allegedly committed numerous acts of sexual abuse and exploitation again
News
The rapid spread of the Zika virus has raised concern among public health officials across the Americas. The World Health Organization warned Sunday that the virus is likely to spread further across the region. At first glance,…
A woman walks away from her apartment as health workers fumigates the Altos del Cerro neighborhood as part of preventive measures against the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases in Soyapango, El Salvador January 21, 2016.
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Last week, an independent panel released a much-anticipated report on sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers and United Nations staff of the very people they are meant to be protecting. Reports of egregious abuse by peacekeepers in the Central…
News
A country “gripped with fear” is how the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, described the Central African Republic during a September 4 visit. His words echo what I’ve heard from hundreds of victims and witnesses…
MINUSCA peacekeepers questioning villagers outside of Batangafo, August 2015