n Conflict Trends - Prevention of and response to conflict-related sexual violence, exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers in the Great Lakes Region of Africa : lessons from Central African Republic

Volume 2016, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1561-9818


In today's violent conflicts, civilians are increasingly caught on the frontline. Africa's Great Lakes Region has witnessed some of the most intense violence and protracted conflict of the last half-century. The region is home to some of Africa's most intractable and turbulent conflicts, reflected by the genocide in Rwanda, civil war in Burundi and South Sudan, conflict in Sudan (Darfur), cross-border conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), exacerbated by internal and external illegal armed groups; and, more recently, sectarian conflict in Central African Republic (CAR). One of the most devastating forms of extreme hostility waged against civilians in the region is conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV). While women and girls are often the primary targets, CRSV is also strategically perpetrated against men and boys. Even with all the measures put in place in the region and in CAR, recent and fresh allegations against peacekeepers continually surface. The circumstances that render women and children vulnerable to these situations include low economic empowerment and displacement due to conflict, leading to a lack of food, security and shelter. For some women and children, this may lead to transactional sex in exchange for these basic needs, while others are coerced or sexually violated by armed groups or security forces. Sexual violence, exploitation and abuse impacts on the social fabric of society and hinders effective post-conflict reconstruction.

This article draws from the experiences of CAR and discusses the lessons learned regarding sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) as a result of conflict in the country.

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