New York, 6 June 2019: The United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Mrs. Pramila Patten, visited the Central African Republic from 26 to 31 May 2019. The aim of her visit was to support the Government in its efforts to prevent and respond to conflict-related sexual violence including the implementation of the commitments made by parties to the conflict, through the recent Political Accord for Peace and Reconciliation, to end sexual violence and hold the perpetrators accountable.

Special Representative Patten met with the President, the Prime Minister, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Interior, Humanitarian Action and National Reconciliation, Social Affairs, and Women and Family, as well as with the President of the National Assembly and women parliamentarians, civil society representatives, religious leaders and survivors of sexual violence. The visit concluded with the signing of a Joint Communiqué between the United Nations and the Government of Central African Republic, which outlines three critical areas of cooperation, namely the fight against impunity through justice and accountability; a holistic and survivor centered approach in service provision; strengthening of women’s meaningful and effective participation in decision-making positions as well as in the implementation of the peace accord; and enhanced engagement with religious leaders to help prevent these crimes and to shift harmful social norms such as stigmatization and victim-blame.

“I particularly welcome the strong commitment to combating impunity for conflict-related sexual violence as expressed by President Faustin-Archange Touadéra during our meeting”, stated Special Representative Patten. “As the newly signed Joint Communiqué affirms, there can be no impunity or amnesty for these grave crimes.”

During her field visits to Birao and Bria, Special Representative Patten met with the leaders of several armed group and urged them to respect their obligations under the recent Peace Accord, noting that crimes of sexual violence will not go unpunished. She also met with survivors who expressed deep distress over the lack of comprehensive medical, psychosocial, judicial and socio-economic reintegration services. She further called upon the donor and diplomatic community to ensure enhanced political and financial support for a survivor-centered approach to both prevention and response to the scourge of sexual violence.

For media inquiries, please contact:
Ms. Géraldine Boezio
Office of the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, New York
Tel: + 1 917 367-3306 Email: geraldine.boezio@un.org
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