Despite successive peace deals between government and armed groups, most recently in early 2019, armed conflict in Central African Republic (CAR) persists and widespread sexual violence against civilians continues. Conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) targeting males has been reported during armed attacks and when men and boys are held captive by armed groups, including ex-Séléka and anti-Balaka groups, and the Lord’s Resistance Army. Men have also been subjected to sexual violence for refusing to join armed groups, and boys associated with armed groups may be vulnerable to sexual violence while in the ranks. Boys are also among those who have been subjected to sexual exploitation and abuse by international peacekeepers and humanitarian workers deployed to CAR.
National laws proscribing rape and sexual violence are gender-inclusive and consensual same-sex relations are not criminalised. A rapid response unit within the police dedicated to investigating sexual violence has been established, and the UN-backed hybrid tribunal, the Special Criminal Court in CAR, is mandated to investigate and prosecute CRSV, among other serious crimes under international law. Nevertheless, impunity for CRSV, including against men and boys, remains deeply entrenched. Ongoing violence continues to cause widespread displacement of civilians, exacerbating an already complex humanitarian situation in which victims/survivors of sexual violence face huge difficulties in accessing appropriate medical care and other support.
The UN agency responsible for the protection of refugees and internally displaced persons is supporting programs for community-based interventions and survivor-centred responses to CRSV in CAR.
MSF is an international, independent medical humanitarian organisation providing medical assistance to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters, or exclusion from healthcare. In the Central African Republic, MSF is engaged in providing medical response to survivors of sexual violence in several health facilities in the capital Bangui and in the provinces.