Press Release

Regional strategy to combat sexual violence related to armed conflict

25 October 2019

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Regional Office for West and Central Africa is organizing a regional consultation on Gender-Based Violence in humanitarian settings in West and Central Africa. This regional consultation will be held at the Pullman Hotel in Dakar, Senegal, from 28 to 29 October 2019. It will bring together gender-based violence coordinators in countries in crisis, members of the Regional Working Group on Protection (RWGP) as well as bilateral partners and donor countries.

The objective of this meeting is to conduct an in-depth reflection and critical analysis of ongoing actions by all partners in conflict-affected countries to develop regional and national strategies to guide the prevention of, and response to gender-based violence.

The West and Central Africa region is one of the regions in Africa and the world most affected by armed conflict and related conflicts. The Lake Chad Basin, the Sahel and the Central African region have experienced one of the most devastating conflicts with 4.75 million people forcibly displaced.

In this volatile context, women and girls are at high risk of sexual and gender-based violence, including sexual abuse and exploitation by humanitarian workers. Rape, physical assault and denial of resources are the main trends in gender-based violence affecting 98% of women.

The 2018 report of the United Nations Secretary-General on conflict-related sexual violence and the 2019 Regional Protection Dialogues on the Lake Chad Basin and the Sahel support initiatives on protection partner consultations on sexual and gender-based violence.

UNFPA, as the lead agency of the regional working group on gender-based violence, will review the recommendations of the Dakar regional consultation to develop a regional and national strategy to address sexual violence associated with armed conflict in the region.

Countries participating in this meeting are Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Senegal.