UN: Official urges strong action to protect women, girls in CAR

New York, US (PANA) - Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka has urged the UN Security Council to take strong action to help restore the rule of law in Central African Republic (CAR) and bolster women’s participation, leadership and protection.

Briefing the Council on her recent mission to CAR, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka said she and Ms. Bineta Diop, Special Envoy of the African Union on Women, Peace and Security, had aimed to spotlight the plight of women and girls, ensure that gender issues are addressed from the outset in the newly established UN mission, and to promote women’s participation and leadership in local reconciliation, transitional justice, and upcoming elections.

"What we saw and heard was terrifying, the displacement camps is countrywide and people sought shelter under plastic covers or even pieces of cloth in inhumane conditions, surrounded by puddles of dirty, stagnant water and garbage, vulnerable to waterborne diseases," she said.

As for reports of rape, sexual slavery, and other violations perpetrated by armed actors, she said such reports had been confirmed last December by a UN fact-finding mission led by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and supported by UN Women.

"This violence has taken place in house-to-house searches, unauthorised road blocks, military camps, and as part of sectarian violence," the UN official noted.

Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka said: "We learnt that girls are frequently subjected to forced marriage. Many have become pregnant, miscarried, or contracted sexually transmitted diseases,
including HIV.

"With women and girls facing such miserable conditions, there is a great need for medical and psycho-social support in sites for internally displaced persons (IDPs), 90 per cent of which lack services for survivors of gender-based violence.

"The very few services that are available assist hundreds of victims of rape every month,"
she added.

"What I heard over and over again from women was that security and rule of law, healthcare,
food, and schools were the country’s greatest needs," the official said, noting that nearly two-thirds of schools in the CAR remain closed, and hundreds of thousands of children are growing up without an education.

As for the UN integrated mission in CAR, known as MINUSCA, she said when that operation is up and running, priority should be given to special temporary measures and quotas for women’s representation, and MINUSCA protection and security for women’s participation in the elections.

In his remarks, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for CAR, Mr. Babacar
Gaye, said the security situation "remains tense" in the capital, Bangui, and inside the country.

He said that the recent attack on the Notre-Dame de Fatima de Bangui church on 28 May,
where 11 people including the priest were killed, "illustrates not only the dangerous
spiral of attacks and reprisals shaking the country, but also radicalisation of both parties
and the risk of a worse situation".
-0- PANA AA/SEG 25June2014

25 june 2014 07:48:48

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