Moon “troubled” by scale and nature of harm to children in CAR


Conflict and instability in the Central African Republic (CAR) have had a devastating impact on children, according to a new United Nations report that calls on all parties involved in the conflict in the country to immediately halt grave violations against children and abide by international humanitarian and human rights law.
“I am deeply troubled by the scale and nature of violations endured by children in the Central African Republic,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his latest report on children and armed conflict in CAR.

The UN documented the killing of 333 children and maiming of 589 others in brutal attacks targeting communities for reprisals or other motives between January 2011 and December 2015. The majority of these attacks were documented between 2013 and 2014, following the Government takeover by the Séléka and the rise of anti-Balaka self-defence militias.

The surge in violations included large-scale recruitment and use of children and the targeting of children based on their religious affiliations.
“At the height of conflict in 2013 and 2014, children were victims of relentless violence and appalling violations were committed in a climate of total impunity, aggravated by the collapse and disintegration of most State institutions,” said Leila Zerrougui, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict.

The report called on CAR authorities to strengthen the country’s justice system and end impunity, including through the establishment and operationalisation of a Special Criminal Court which would be funded by Member States.

Among other recommendations in the report, the Secretary-General called on the armed groups that had signed agreements at the National Forum of Bangui in May 2015 to respect and implement those agreements. The signatories vowed to stop recruitment of children, as well as to end other grave violations.

In 2014, UNICEF estimated that between 6 000 and 10 000 children were associated with all parties to conflict.