News / Africa

UNICEF: CAR a Fragile Country

An anti-Balaka Christian militiaman mans a mobile checkpoint near Sibut, some 200kms (140 miles) northeast of Bangui, Central African Republic, Friday April 11, 2014. The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Thursday to authorize a nearly 12,000-strong
An anti-Balaka Christian militiaman mans a mobile checkpoint near Sibut, some 200kms (140 miles) northeast of Bangui, Central African Republic, Friday April 11, 2014. The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Thursday to authorize a nearly 12,000-strong

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
UNICEF’s Representative to the Central African Republic said children have fallen victim to malnutrition and recruitment as child soldiers. He warned the conflict has growing regional implications.
 
Souleyman Diabaté was in New York this week briefing U.N. officials about the ongoing crisis. He said all of the country’s health and social services have collapsed.
 
“The situation in Central African Republic is not good at all. It is a fragile country, and the security situation is volatile and unpredictable. So working in this environment is kind of complicated,” he said.
 
A complicated situation grew even worse last December when Christian militias formed to combat attacks by mostly Muslim Seleka rebels. The inter-communal violence has left many civilians dead or maimed. Much of the country’s Muslim population has been displaced from the capital Bangui.
 
About 6,000 African and French peacekeepers are trying to maintain a semblance of order in a country too big for their numbers. The U.N. has authorized a mission to the country – MINUSCA -- consisting of 10,000 military and 1,800 police personnel. But it’ll be months before they arrive.
 
“We all know that the peacekeeping mission will be deployed in mid-September. But we all know that the nation won’t be fully operational In September. So between now and September there is a kind of vacuum that needs to be addressed,” he said.
 
Diabaté said in the meantime the current troops on the ground need to be better organized and better equipped. He said unless the world pays attention to CAR, neighboring countries
-- such as Chad, Cameroon, DRC and South Sudan -- could face long-term negative effects, including refugees and spillover fighting.
 
“We hear more about Syria. We hear more about [the] Philippines or Ukraine. But CAR is not getting enough resources to address the issue of the children in Central African Republic.”
 
Schools in the country have been closed for more than a year.
 
“Children are not going to school. So they are being recruited by the rebels, by the militia groups. Children are being recruited by force or sometimes they are joining because for them it is the only way to find food. It is the only way to find a way to take care of themselves,” he said.
 
The U.N. agency has managed to get some of the child soldiers released.  It’s set of goal of freeing 1,500 child soldiers this year.
 
Last year, UNICEF vaccinated 400,000 children in CAR against measles, yellow fever and polio. The target is to immunize more than 700,000 children against measles in 2014.
 
Diabaté  said, “We have also the case of malnourished children. We have a lot of malnourished children due to the crisis. Because when the crisis happened families were living in the bush. In the pediatric hospital of Bangui – the sole pediatric hospital we have for the entire country – the number of malnourished children has tripled.”
 
Diabaté said UNICEF has increased the number of personnel in the country from 70 to 200. They have access, he said, to most of the country, except the far north.
 
“Central African Republic is a donor orphan country. We have launched the humanitarian action for children for $81-million. But we have mobilized only 20-percent. So, there is a gap, which needs to be filled up.”
 
Diabaté said in briefing U.N. officials about the crisis he is echoing the voices of the children of CAR.

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid