CAR: New report outlines grave situation for children

4 May, 2011
Children in an IDP camp in Kabo, Northern CAR. Credit: IRIN/Caterina Pino
Children in an IDP camp in Kabo, Northern CAR. Credit: IRIN/Caterina Pino

Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict (Watchlist) and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) today released a report showing that children in the Central African Republic (CAR) are being abducted, recruited into armed groups and denied access to humanitarian assistance.

The report, entitled An Uncertain Future? Children and Armed Conflict in the Central African Republic, shows that the Lord’s Resistance Army is still present and active in CAR and the armed group Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace is reportedly recruiting or using child soldiers and attacking schools in northeast CAR. Abducted children are raped, used as sex slaves and forced to attack villages and kill others, including other children. The report provides detailed policy recommendations and calls on humanitarian actors to take specific actions to help these children.

“Children are being abused and their rights are being ignored,” says Eva Smets, Director of Watchlist. “We must protect and provide adequate support for these children.”

One of the primary issues addressed in the report is humanitarian organizations’ lack of access to areas in need of assistance due to armed conflict. The activities of rebel groups hinder the delivery of humanitarian assistance, and in many areas no assessment of needs has been made. Other problems covered are the abduction and recruitment of children into armed groups, and the challenges of long-term reintegration of children.

The report is based on first-hand information collected during a Watchlist and IDMC field mission to CAR in January 2011. One-on-one interviews were conducted with former child soldiers, internally displaced children and their families, community leaders and teachers, security forces and members of village self-defense militias. It aims to outline the situation in CAR from the perspective those directly affected by these acts of violence.

More>> Download the Report (PDF)