Children associated with armed groups released in Northern region of Central African Republic
AKOURSOULBAK, Central African Republic, 22 June 2012 – The United Nations task force on children associated with armed groups or forces welcomes the release of 32 children – 28 boys and 4 girls – from the Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace (CPJP). This release took place on June 13th in the northern prefecture of Bamingui Bangoran. The release of this first group of children is the result of months of work involving the identification and verification of children and negotiations between armed groups and the UN task force. The process of reintegration is in accordance with an Action Plan signed between Head of the CPJP Abdulaye Hissen and UN Representatives in 2011, stipulating the release of all children.
Focusing on their physical and mental well-being, transitional care is being provided to children recently removed from the CPJP. The UN task force and implementing partner the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) are providing life skills training and engaging them in positive activities towards building their future, including education, sports, cultural activities and vocational skills. Working in collaboration with national and local authorities, communities, and partners, these actions are part of a long-term commitment to children associated with armed groups and to the conflict affected communities into which they return. “We are working to help children reunite with their families and build resilience, and engaging with families and communities to prevent re-recruitment,” said UNICEF Chief of Child Protection Fosca Giulidori.
The release of this first group of children constitutes part of on-going work with armed groups in CAR. “This first success is an indication that, even in this difficult context, results can be achieved. The UN continues to be committed to the immediate release of all children associated with armed groups,” added Giulidori. As per the programme developed by the UN task force, action plans have also been signed with other armed groups including UFDR, the next armed groups expected to release children in the following weeks.
About the UN task force on children associated with armed groups or forces
In 2005, the Security Council requested in Resolution 1612 the UN Secretary-General to establish a monitoring and reporting mechanism, managed by country-based UN task forces to provide timely and reliable information on grave violations of children's rights in situations of armed conflict. In conflict affected countries, the UN task force collects information on the six grave violations committed against children: the recruitment or use of children, abducting, killing, maiming, rape or other sexual violence; attacks on schools and hospitals; and denial of humanitarian access. The UN task force engages with government forces and rebel groups to develop action plans to end and prevent these violations from taking place. In coordinating with the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the UN task force develops the tools, guidelines, and training materials necessary to strengthen the monitoring and reporting mechanism.
For more information, please contact:
Linda Tom, UNICEF Central African Republic, Mobile +236 7055 0210, firstname.lastname@example.org