Cameroon: Refugees from Central African Republic Vulnerable to Sexual Assault
Saturday, July 19, 2014 8:45 AM

Women refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR) suffer high rates of gender-based violence in Cameroon. The majority of the 11,000 refugees housed in Gado, in eastern Cameroon near the border with CAR, are women and girls frequently subjected to threats of sexual violence and rape. UN officials say that these women and girls face threats and abuse both outside and inside the camps. 

According to Kepeu Jacques from Cameroon’s national order of medical doctors, many of the victims suffer from sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS, and demonstrate signs of repeated abuse. UN Women representative in Cameroon, Rachelle Mian Djagoe said the UN is establishing units “to care for survivors of rape and other violence, and [is] recruiting social workers to teach women both their rights and how to invest in little businesses so they have some sort of financial autonomy.”  Ms. Mian Djagoe said many women and girls are suffering in silence.

U.N. Officials are also working to diminish women and girl’s vulnerability to sexual violence through improved living conditions.  In UN built sites, families and relatives are placed together, making it easier for them to identify and report unfamiliar faces and potential attackers.

Cameroon has become a top destination for refugees fleeing armed conflict in the CAR. A 2011 demographic health survey funded by USAID and a similar study by the government of Cameroon found that 55% of girls under the age of 15 were victims of violence.   

Compiled from: Kindzeka, Moki Edwin, CAR refugees Vulnerable to Gender Violence, Voice of America (July 1, 2014