Item 10: High-level ID with the Independent Expert on the Central African Republic. Statement, 21 March 2018.
As delivered by First Secretary Paul Ø. Bjørdal
Norway is deeply concerned by the increase in the number of human rights violations in the Central African Republic. We urge the Government of Central African Republic and the various armed groups to engage in a constructive dialogue to end violence and establish durable peace.
There has been a significant increase of sexual violence committed against women and children, including several cases of mass rape. In our opinion, the recent UN reports on the situation in Central African Republic underestimates this calamity.
SGBV survivors have very limited access to protection and medical, mental health and social services. Many have to walk for several weeks before reaching health centers. Others keep their ordeal a secret and suffer with their trauma in silence. Most victims do not have an opportunity to seek legal support, as the judicial system’s outreach beyond the capital is limited. Norway is concerned that impunity rather than the rule of law seems to have become the norm.
The government of the Central African Republic has the main responsibility for civilian protection, including specific measures to protect women and girls and to mitigate risk of sexual violence. The international community and the UN system need to do more to assist the government in this task and give SGBV higher priority. Last year’s efforts to establish a Rapid Response Unit to combat sexual violence against women and children was encouraging. We expect UN actors to continue to support this joint initiative, and ensure that capacities are built to reach SGBV survivors throughout the country.