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Sexual Violence by Armed Groups in the Central African Republic

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Sexual Violence by Armed Groups in the Central African Republic

6th October 2017

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Since late 2012, the Central African Republic has been wracked by bloody armed conflict in which civilians have paid the price. Armed groups have brazenly violated the laws of war with impunity, attacking civilians and civilian infrastructure, and leaving trails of death, displacement, and destitution in what was already one of the world’s poorest countries.

During nearly five years of conflict, armed groups have also brutalised women and girls. The predominantly Muslim Seleka and the largely Christian and animist militia known as “anti-balaka,” two main parties to the conflict, have both committed sexual slavery and rape across the country. Human Rights Watch documented fighters using sexual violence to punish women and girls, frequently along sectarian lines, as recently as May 2017.

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Armed groups have not simply committed sexual violence as a byproduct of fighting, but, in many cases, used it as a tactic of war. Commanders have consistently tolerated sexual violence by their forces and, in some cases, they appear to have ordered it or to have committed it themselves.

Report by the Human Rights Watch

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