Media Advisory: UN Women Executive Director and AU Special Envoy visit Central African Republic

Focus of the visit will be on the plight of women and girls, increase international support, and strengthen the role of women in peacebuilding, reconciliation and recovery.

For immediate release
Date : 23 May 2014

From 24 - 26 May, UN Women Executive Director and United Nations Under-Secretary General, Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, and African Union Special Envoy for Women Peace and Security, Bineta Diop, will undertake a joint visit to the Central African Republic. 

The visit’s aim is to focus international attention on the plight of women and girls, increase international support, and strengthen the role of women in peacebuilding, reconciliation and recovery. 

Of a total population of 4.6 million, some 2.5 million people in CAR are currently in need of immediate humanitarian assistance, the majority of whom are women and children. Of USD 565 million in funding required for joint UN operations in CAR, only 30 per cent has been funded as of 14 May 2014.

UN Women Mlambo-Ngcuka and AU Envoy Diop will encourage international partners to adhere to the UN’s own policies on earmarking 15 per cent of funding for women’s empowerment and gender equality.

During their joint visit, they will identify ways to strengthen the national women’s movement and support women working as agents of peace and development. As in other conflicts, women are playing an important but undervalued role as contributors to conflict prevention, management and peace-building in CAR. 

Mlambo-Ngcuka and Diop will hold wide-ranging consultations with the Government, women and girls, women’s groups, civil society, religious leaders, and the African-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic (MISCA). They will explore areas where the international community can support the role of women in peacebuilding, reconciliation and recovery. 

The UN Women Executive Director and the AU Special Envoy will work with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and the UN System to ensure that the new peacekeeping mission is fully prepared to respond to the specific needs of women and girls in the implementation of its mandate. 

Following the visit, UN Women and the African Union will continue to reach out to international partners to direct new resources in support of CAR’s most vulnerable women and girls.  

Key Facts & Figures

  • Women and Girls in CAR are subject to high rates of physical and sexual violence, in addition to female genital mutilation and early and forced marriage. In rural areas, this violence severely affects women’s movement and access to humanitarian assistance. 
  • Women, girls, and boys are also used by political-military groups as combatants, sex slaves, and forced labourers.
  • CAR has one of the world’s highest maternal mortality rates. A woman’s lifetime risk of maternal death is 1 in 27 compared to 1 in 3800 in developed countries.
  • A UNICEF survey released on 9 May revealed that almost two thirds of schools remain closed, more than halfway through the school year. UNICEF also says that 500,000 of the 662,000 children in primary school last year have now dropped out.

For more information:

  • Sharon Grobeisen; Tel: +1 646 781-4753; sharon.grobeisen@unwomen.org