The Central African Republic is facing a long and difficult road in its efforts to achieve peace but it can succeed, says Zainab Bangura the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict.
Ms. Bangura spoke to reporters in the capital, Bangui, at the start of her first mission since she took office in September.
She said the goal of her mission is to consult with all stakeholders in the country, including the government, religious leaders, non-governmental organizations, victims of sexual violence and former combatants.
Ms. Bangura, a Sierra Leonean national, said the discussions will focus on what can be done to end impunity, and promote increased services to the victims and survivors of sexual violence.
'I will be a long and difficult road ahead of you. I am saying this coming from a country that has come from conflict. Recently, less than a month ago we just had our third election after conflict. It's one of the most peaceful elections ever in the history of the country. And today we are sending 900 Sierra Leoneans, to go to Somalia. So we are contributing troops to give peace in another country in Africa. Fifteen years ago we were killing each other. The UN had to come to save us. Today we are supporting the UN. So you too can do it."
Ms. Bangura said that her message is also to emphasize the importance of national ownership of the peace process in the Central African Republic.