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N'Djamena Child Soldiers Conference

UNICEF/CAR/2007/Holtz
© UNICEF/CAR/2010/Holtz
A boy in the Vakaga province in northeastern part of the Central African Republic, shows gun shells he found when he was playing in the streets.

A regional conference on “Ending Recruitment and Use of Children in Armed Forces and Groups: Contributing to Peace, Justice and Development” is hosted by the Government of Chad and UNICEF in N’Djamena, Chad from 7 to 9 June 2010.

Among the participating countries are Chad, the Central African Republic, Sudan, Cameroon, Nigeria and Niger.

Promoting peace in Central Africa
The goal of the Conference is to get a commitment by the concerned countries to put an end to the involvement  of children in conflicts, including to the recruitment of child soldiers, demobilize them and reintegrate them into normal life thus contributing to stability and peace in Central Africa.

The Conference follows the announcement on 25 May 2010 of a two year campaign calling for the universal ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on protection for children in armed conflict (OPAC).

As of June 2010, Chad and Sudan have signed and ratified the Optional Protocol (OPAC). Cameroon and Nigeria have signed, but have not yet ratified. Central African Republic and Niger have neither signed nor ratified.

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UNICEF/NYHQ2005-0965/Haviv
© UNICEF/NYHQ2005-0965/Haviv
In eastern Chad near the Sudan border, a child's drawing is posted on the wall at the Iridimi camp for Sudanese refugees. The drawing shows scenes of terror, including the burning of a village by militia forces.

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