The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) expressed its concern about conscription of Child soldiers in Central African Republic (CAR) and called for the fighting groups to refrain from child conscription on January 4th, 2013. The Representative of UNICEF in CAR, Souleymane Diabate, has stated that there is strong evidence that the rebels and the pro-government militias are recruiting children soldiers.
The Statement by the Representative states that UNICEF “is working with partners to monitor, verify, and respond to grave violations of child rights, including recruitment into armed groups – those at greater risk are children who have lost their homes, are separated from their families or were formerly associated with armed groups”.
Specifically, UNICEF is highly concerned about children under the age of 18 who are forced to engage in fighting, carrying supplies, and abused as sex slaves by the fighting groups. The conflict in CAR has already affected more than 300,000 children in the form of recruitment, sexual exploitation, forced displacement, and limited access to education and health services.
The CAR has experienced recurrent internal conflicts in 1996, 1997, 2001 and 2003.