Central African Republic

What’s happening in Central African Republic?

Two and a half million children in the Central African Republic are still caught up in the ongoing conflict in Central African Republic and are in urgent need of humanitarian aid.Across the country children have been injured or killed in attacks, while others have been separated from their families and witnessed traumatic violence.

On 14 May 2015, more than 300 children, including several under 12 years old, have been released from armed groups in Bambari following a UNICEF-facilitated agreement by the groups’ leaders to free all children in their ranks. Three separate ceremonies were held near the town of Bambari during which 357 children were released by anti-Balaka militias and the ex-Seleka armed group. The agreement by the leaders of CAR’s 10 armed groups to release children in their ranks was signed during a reconciliation forum held in the capital Bangui last week as the result of a collaboration between UNICEF, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and the Government of the Central African Republic.

Unicef and partners have begun efforts to provide psychosocial support and to reunify the children with their families, and will be supporting their reintegration into their communities. The children received medical screenings and had the opportunity to speak with trained social workers. When security conditions permit, children with relatives in the area will be reunited with their families while others will be placed with foster-caregivers until their families can be traced. UNICEF estimates that between 6,000 and 10,000 children are currently connected with the country’s armed factions. This figure includes children serving as combatants, others who are being used for sexual purposes, and those working as cooks, messengers and in other roles. The agreement also commits the groups to ending additional recruitment of children and gives UNICEF and its partners immediate and unrestricted access to the areas under the groups’ control in order to identify and verify the number of affected children and to secure their release.

Unicef is working around the clock to protect all children in danger in the conflict, including children who have been forced to fight in armed groups. We must not let this become a forgotten crisis.

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