© UNICEF Côte d'Ivoire/2006/Westerbeek


Every day, millions of children worldwide are victims of violence, exploitation and abuse. These violations take place in their communities, schools, institutions and even families; during armed conflict, and when subjected to the worst forms of labor or harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation/cutting and child marriage. Millions more, not yet victims, remain without adequate protection.
Côte d’Ivoire is not an exception and has seen the situation of children worsen during the crisis (2002-2007). Despite the Ouagadougou Peace Agreement signature (March 2007), the situation has not really improved, and children and women are still exposed to all sorts of abuses without having access to adequate protection:

  • Birth registration disrupted because of the beginning of the conflict is only slowly resuming
  • Increasing cases of trafficking (more than 200 identified cases in 2006 and 2007)
  • Child labor
  • Increasing domestic and sexual violence and female genital mutilation(FGM)/cutting practice

UNICEF action and impact

Protecting children from violence, exploitation and abuse is an integral component of protecting their rights to survival, growth and development. UNICEF draws on its Core Corporate Commitments, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Millennium Declaration, A World Fit for Children and other international human rights agreements.

UNICEF advocates and supports the creation of a protective environment for children in partnership with governments, national and international partners including the private sector, and civil society. 

UNICEF Côte d’Ivoire Children and Adolescents Protection Programme comprises four projects:

  • Protection and reintegration of children affected by conflict
  • Legal and judiciary protection for children and adolescents
  • Fight against violence against children and women
  • Protection and social reintegration of children and women in emergency situations

© UNICEF Côte d'Ivoire/2007/Arrivé

UNICEF continues its efforts in the field of reintegration of children ex-associated with armed groups. To this end, UNICEF coordinates financial resource mobilization to purchase installation kits and strong partnership development to ensure the success of children’s reintegration. Through a holistic approach (food, medical, psychosocial assistance and follow-up, and recreational activities), family, social and work-related reintegration activities are organized in the Centre, North and West (CNW) areas, as well as in the South for the benefit of thousands of crisis-affected children. Furthermore, UNICEF is, in collaboration with other UN agencies, actively involved in the execution of the Security Council Resolution 1612. This resolution calls for the creation of a monitoring and reporting mechanism on six grave violations of children’s rights, as well as for the creation of the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict. Actions carried out by UNICEF and UNOCI (the United Nations in Côte d’Ivoire) led to the signing of formal agreements in which the ex-rebels and pro-government militias committed to not use children in their ranks. Hence, respect of action plans and regular dialogue with parties involved in the conflict led to a continued decrease in involvement of children in armed groups: no proof could be established in 2007 regarding recruitment and use of children in armed groups.

UNICEF also supports activities that fight against sexual violence and harmful traditional practices, including Female Genital Mutilation to raise communities’ awareness of children and women’s protection against violence. Community mobilization and capacity-building activities are supported to ensure legal, medical and psychosocial assistance for victims of sexual violence.

UNICEF strongly advocates the promotion of birth registration. Birth registration is essential to ensure access to healthcare and education, and to obtain an identity and a nationality. It also protects young people from underage military service, forced marriage and child labor.

Because of the weakness of public structures in CNW zones, community and private initiatives have mushroomed. But these initiatives suffer from a lack of organizational, structural and technical capacities. UNICEF has organized trainings related to the major issues in the field of protection to strengthen its partners’ capacities in terms of community mobilization, projects’ follow-up and protection of children in emergency situations. Taking into account the redeployment of the administration, national capacity building, such as support to different ministries to strengthen knowledge and experience and ensure sustainability is prioritized.

In Côte d’Ivoire, First Lady celebrates the Day of the African Child with 500 children
Day of the African Child 2011

Reducing gender-based violence against girls and women
A significant number of girls and women in Côte d'Ivoire have been victims of sexual violence at least once in their lifetimes. And between 2007 and 2008, the number of reported cases of such violence increased dramatically.

Right to participation

Additional Documents
Day of the African Child 2011





Key data

  • 35.3% of children between 5 and 14 years old are gainfully employed (MICS 2006)
  • 46.5% of orphans between 10 and 14 years old do not go to school (MICS 2006)
  • Overall, in Côte d’Ivoire, 36.4% of women between 15 and 49 years old have had FGM/cutting (MICS 2006), the highest prevalence is in the North West: 88% and in the North: 87.8%
  • The births of 45.1% of children under 5 years old have not been registered (MICS 2006)
  • In 2007, the births of 11,884 children were registered through awareness raising and capacity building of registry office staff
  • Since the beginning of the crisis it has been estimated that about 3,000 children have been associated to armed groups
  • Since 2002, 7,194 conflict-affected children, including 2,813 associated with armed groups, have benefited from psychosocial, vocational and educational assistance
  • In 2007, 143 trafficked children were reunified with their family
  • In 2007, 112 victims of sexual violence benefited from psychosocial and medical assistance
  • In 2007, 100 children in conflict with the law benefited from psychosocial and vocational assistance


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