We’ve known for a long time how bad the situation in the Central African Republic is for women and girls there. The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, which has an open investigation into crimes committed during CAR’s 2002-2003 civil war, has even said that the number of suspected rapes far exceeds the number of extra-judicial killings during that war. Still, it is a shock to the conscience to see a statistic like this:

Over 15 per cent of women and girls in the violence-ridden north of the Central African Republic (CAR) are victims of rape and other forms of sexual violence, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today.

Reports coming in on a weekly basis describe such incidents as two 12-year-old girls being raped while searching for firewood in the bush and a 13-year-old girl assaulted on her way to sell palm oil at a market.

“Sexual violence is a disturbingly common feature of the insecurity in the north of the Central African Republic,” said UN Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes. “We must ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.”

Read more. And visit Amnesty International to learn more about war against women in the C.A.R.

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