News / Africa

UN: CAR Groups Still Recruiting Child Soldiers

Child soldiers recruited by Islamists in Mali (2012 photo)Child soldiers recruited by Islamists in Mali (2012 photo)
x
Child soldiers recruited by Islamists in Mali (2012 photo)
Child soldiers recruited by Islamists in Mali (2012 photo)
TEXT SIZE - +
Lisa Schlein

The United Nations Children's Fund reports that armed groups in the Central African Republic are continuing to recruit child soldiers. UNICEF condemns this practice, calling it a grave violation of international law.
 

The U.N. Children’s Fund is calling for an immediate stop to the recruitment of child soldiers by armed groups in the Central African Republic. UNICEF is warning leaders they will be held responsible for this practice, which is a breach of international law.


The agency says the CAR has a history of recruiting child soldiers. It says before fighting began between the government and Seleka rebels in December, more than 2,000 boys and girls were associated with armed groups. It adds both sides in the conflict were recruiting children.


UNICEF spokeswoman Marixie Mercado says last month's takeover of the capital, Bangui, by the rebels has not stopped the recruitment, although the number of new recruits is not known.


"We have verified cases, but no precise number. What we are hearing from partners in the field is that there has been an increase in terms of the geographic scope and the magnitude of the practice… Children are recruited to be used as spies, porters, messengers, cooks, in addition to fighting on the front lines as well," Mercado said.


Since 2007, UNICEF reports over 1,000 girls and boys have been released from armed and self-defense groups in the CAR. Mercado says the agency and its partners have worked to rehabilitate these children and re-integrate them into their communities.


She says the new authorities in Bangui indicate they plan to identify and release children among the ranks of armed groups. She says UNICEF is ready to participate in this process and will try to ensure no new recruitments take place.


But, she notes there are no guarantees of success, as the chaotic situation in the country is exposing children to multiple dangers.


"The past four months of widespread lawlessness and insecurity and lack of access by humanitarian workers to large parts of the country is placing children at greater risk than ever. Almost all schools across the country are now closed and the health facilities we have been able to assess have been severely looted. UNICEF and the International Committee of the Red Cross have secured water treatment supplies for the next few months in Bangui. The situation outside the capital is unclear because access is extremely difficult," Mercado said.


Mercado warns access to the remote northern parts of CAR will get worse once the rainy season begins in April and May.


UNICEF is calling on the new authorities to abide by their obligations to protect children. It is urging them to provide law and order so humanitarian agencies are able to reach the children, families and communities that so desperately need assistance.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid