UN Women welcomes new Interim President Catherine Samba-Panza in Central African Republic, expresses concern at ongoing situation and calls for justice and services for women

Statement by UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka


UN Women welcomes the election of Catherine Samba-Panza as the Head of State of the Transition of the Central African Republic, the first female Head of State in CAR, and expresses hope that the transition will pave a path to peace and justice in the country.

UN Women is concerned at the ongoing violence, particularly violence against women and girls, and calls for measures to protect women and girls, end impunity, ensure justice and provide social services for survivors.

UN Women welcomes the recent appointment by the Human Rights Council of Marie-Thérèse Keita Bocoum of Côte d’Ivoire as Independent Expert on CAR, and the decision by the Security Council to establish a Commission of Inquiry. Recent Security Council decisions have encouraged all such Commissions to include gender-based crimes in their mandates and UN Women will be providing dedicated expertise to ensure that there is accountability for these crimes. 

UN Women urges the Commission of Inquiry and the new Independent Expert to place particular emphasis on the impact of the conflict on women and girls, including the destruction of civilian infrastructure leading to heightened responsibilities of care, lack of access to life-saving medical care, and the increased insecurity caused by displacement. 

UN Women supported the December UN fact-finding mission to CAR with a dedicated gender crimes expert. The team documented evidence of armed actors subjecting women and girls to rape, forced recruitment, sexual slavery and early or forced marriage.

We encourage national and international actors to strive for the consistent implementation of UN Security Council resolutions on women, peace and security and for international donors to prioritize protection, justice and social and economic services for women and girls in the Central African Republic. To pave the path to peace, sexual violence against women and girls must end and perpetrators brought to justice. Women and girls must be empowered to play their full political, social and economic role.

UN Women offers its continued support within the framework of the United Nations’ ongoing engagement with the new government to prevent, protect and redress the violence experienced by women and girls, and to secure women’s leadership and participation to resolve the conflict and rebuild the Central African Republic.