UN, African officials urge efforts to advance peace and stability in CAR
ADDIS ABABA, June 2 (Xinhua) --- Officials from the United Nations, the African Union and the regional bloc ECCAS, who have conducted a three-day joint mission to the Central African Republic (CAR), are calling for further international efforts to advance peace and stability in the country.
The officials, including AU Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security Bineta Diop and UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, jointly undertook the visit in May to CAR to focus the international attention on the plight of women and girls, increase international support, and strengthen the role of women in peace building, reconciliation and recovery in that country.
A joint statement issued by the UN, AU, and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) after the visit to CAR stated that the ongoing crisis in CAR is of grave concern, and women, girls and children are particularly affected by the crisis.
The conflict has resulted in untold suffering and thousands of people have been injured or killed, said the statement.
According to the statement, more than 554,000 people are estimated to be internally displaced.
"Of a total population of 4.6 million, some 2.5 million people are currently in need of immediate humanitarian assistance, the majority of whom are women and children," it said, adding "Extremely high rates of violence against women continue to pose a serious threat to health, development and peace in the Central African Republic."
"Access to health care, counseling, livelihoods and education remains limited. This situation is coupled with the breakdown of what was an already weak and malfunctioning judicial system. Humanitarian access remains a major constraint owing to armed violence. We call on all parties to allow humanitarian access so that aid organizations can reach more people in need. Humanitarian activities must be protected and respected."
The UN, AU, and ECCAS called on all parties to protect civilians and not to harm them in any way.
"No person should be targeted or violated based on who they are, what they believe, or where they come from. We call for greater action to prevent sexual violence, to provide support to survivors, and to bring perpetrators to justice," said the statement.
"At this time, stronger efforts are required to address the precarious situation faced by women and girls in the IDP camps and to bring their needs and interests to the center of attention and international focus," it said.
Of the 565 million U.S. dollars in funding required for joint UN operations in CAR, only 32 percent has been funded, said the joint statement.
They urged the international community to respond and fully fund the efforts.
"For peace and stability to take root in the Central African Republic, women, men and young people must play a full role in a national dialogue, peace negotiations, nation-building and strengthening social cohesion in the country," said the statement.