UN expert on sexual violence in conflict wraps up visit to Central African RepublicListen /
The full power of the international community will be harnessed to fight those who commit sexual violence in the Central African Republic, according to a senior UN official visiting the country.
Zainab Bangura, UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, made this vow during a press conference on Wednesday, marking the end of her first mission to the country.
Ms. Bangura said there have been consistent reports of sexual violence across the Central African Republic, particularly in areas controlled by political-military armed groups or where other armed forces or bandits are present.
However, she added, a culture of stigma, silence and denial discourages survivors from seeking help.
"It is not the women who have been abused who should feel ashamed, but the perpetrators of this crime. It is the perpetrators who shall pay the ultimate price. That is why we must fight impunity for all crimes of sexual violence in Central African Republic. We will make sure that perpetrators are held accountable and we will not allow them any hiding place. And wherever we go, we will run after them. We will use the entire resources and capability of the international community to get them. And I can assure you that we will get them."
Ms. Bangura added that very little has been done to investigate, prosecute and punish offenders, due in part to the limited capacity of the state and law enforcement agencies.
As a result, she said justice may have been delayed, but it cannot be denied.
Dianne Penn, United Nations.