Background of the conflict and key challenges
The Central African Republic has experienced several periods of political instability and conflict since gaining independence in 1960, the most recent conflict between Séléka and the Anti-Balaka starting in 2012. Sexual violence has been used as a weapon of war by both parties to the conflict to terrorise and punish civilians. Victims can be counted in the tens of thousands.
Survivors decided to break the silence and unite their voices in a movement to fight against sexual violence in their country and prevent new generations of women and girls, and also men and boys, from facing the same atrocities.
“Slow justice is yet another crime for survivors of armed conflict.”
On December 10, 2018, the anniversary of the signing of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, survivors of sexual violence in the Central African Republic publicly launched their survivor movement – MOSUCA, which stands for ‘Mouvement des Survivantes de Violences Sexuelles en Centrafrique‘ (Movement of Central African Republic Survivors of Sexual Violence). The survivors presented MOSUCA and its aims to a National Parliament audience of nearly 500.
The network started with 25 members in 2018, survivors who represent six local organisations. Today, more than 350 members span across 14 provinces. The network focuses on raising awareness about the consequences of conflict-related sexual violence, to reducing stigmatisation, and fighting impunity.
The network supports and empowers victims of sexual violence in part through large-scale public events, including awareness-raising sessions in all eight districts of Bangui, a march for HIV-infected survivors, capacity-building training sessions for victims and a radio programme that disseminates information and advocacy on the national radio station, engaging women deputies, ministers, academics and survivors of sexual violence.
Furthermore, MOSUCA has been empowering survivors of sexual violence by distributing and explaining the content of relevant documents, such as the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in the Central African Republic of February 2019, and the UN Security Council Resolution 2467 (2019) which calls for strengthened justice and accountability measures, and a survivor-centred approach in the prevention and response to conflict-related sexual violence.