Statement: UNICEF highly concerned about the impact of fighting on children in North Kivu
Statement UNICEF DR Congo
KINSHASA/GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), 26 July, 2013 – The resumption of conflict between the national army and armed groups (the M23 and the ADF-Nalu) in North Kivu province is a direct risk to children in and around the areas where fighting is taking place. UNICEF has received reports of children killed or injured as a direct result of the current clashes. The available information points to a worrying situation where children are increasingly among the victims.
“Children must be protected by all parties of the conflict. All parties of the conflict are responsible for the protection of children and civilian women and men,” said Barbara Bentein, UNICEF Representative in DRC.
UNICEF estimates there are some 2,000 children being used by armed groups across North Kivu province. “The recruitment and use of children under 18 years of age in armed forces and groups is a crime under Congolese and international law. Those responsible should be identified, arrested and prosecuted in the shortest possible time,” said Bentein. “We urge all parties involved in the conflict to release minors in their ranks.”
Since January 2013 UNICEF and its partners supported the successful demobilization and reintegration of 1,700 children and will continue to provide reintegration support for children who leave the armed groups.
In accordance with Articles 6 and 19 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, every child has the inherent right to life, and all measures must be taken to protect the child against all forms of violence, injury or physical or mental violence. By its resolution 1539, the UN Security Council strongly condemns the recruitment and use of child soldiers by parties to armed conflict in violation of international obligations applicable to them.
For more information, please contact:
Ndiaga Seck, Communication Specialist UNICEF- Eastern DRC, Goma,