MINUSCA and UN Agencies strive to strengthen SEA victims assistance response

Consistent with the Secretary-General’s commitment to transparency and zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) across the United Nations and in peacekeeping operations in particular, the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and UN Agencies operating in the Central African Republic (CAR) place the prevention and response to SEA, and particularly the assistance to SEA victims, as a top priority. Special attention is given to victims under 18 which lives can be devastated by traumatic experiences and early pregnancies.

MINUSCA, in coordination with the UN Agencies, is scaling up prevention initiatives to prevent SEA cases by conducting frequent sensitization activities internally for all categories of personnel as well as sensitization of the host population on UN’s zero tolerance policy on SEA. In addition, efforts and resources have been allocated to coordinate an effective response and assistance to SEA victims, particularly minors, medical, psychosocial and shelter by the UN Agencies and their implementing partners. In this connection, a list of victims and provided services is regularly updated to ensure continuing support. Despite these concrete steps it is undeniable that in a country still challenged by ongoing armed violence and poor social structures support to SEA victims is still far from optimal.

The whole UN system in CAR is making relentless efforts to reduce to zero the number of SEA cases and to guarantee that every minor victim receives the necessary support to minimize the consequences of this despicable behavior. In this regard, MINUSCA has initiated steps to hire a Victims Rights Advocate, in line with the Secretary-General's directive, whose main task will be to represent and defend the interests of SEA victims to ensure they receive the required care and protection.

Moreover, the Organization works relentlessly to end impunity by enforcing measures in reporting, investigations and follow up, particularly with troop and police contributing countries, to hold responsible individuals to account.

MINUSCA and UN Agencies operating in the CAR look forward addressing in practical terms modalities to further strengthen their prevention and victim assistance response mechanisms in the context of the forthcoming visit to the Central African Republic of the Secretary-General’s Special Coordinator on improving the United Nations response to sexual exploitation and abuse, Jane Hill Lute, scheduled to take place from 21-25 April 2017.