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Central African Republic: UNICEF calls for an investigation into the alleged killings of children

DAKAR/BANGUI, 12 November 2013 – Alarmed by the renewed violence in Central African Republic affecting civilians, in particular women and children, UNICEF today urges the transitional government to carry out a full and immediate investigation into the recent allegations of killings.

“Any allegation of children being killed should be taken very seriously and looked at thoroughly,” said Souleymane Diabate, UNICEF Representative in Central African Republic (CAR). “If confirmed, perpetrators must be brought to justice. Since the beginning of the crisis, the population has been desperate for protection. Impunity must end immediately in order to break the vicious cycle of violence.”

UNICEF strongly condemns all acts of violence against children and calls on the transitional government to further investigate these reports and ensure that perpetrators of such acts are identified and brought to justice.

Since September, increased clashes between local self-defence groups called Anti-Balaka  and ex-Séléka forces have triggered large scale displacements of up to 400,000 people. These attacks have reportedly resulted in the killings of civilians, including children, in north-western CAR, especially Bossangoa, Bouar, Bohong and Yaloke.

With many displaced families still scared to return home, UNICEF teams initially set up two areas in two displacement sites in Bossangoa where up to 600 children can feel safe and protected, play, access recreational and art activities and receive counselling and support.

“We were inside the house with my parents when they broke in with guns. I was so scared that my heart got warm,” says Felicia, 13-year-old displaced girl while drawing at one of the UNICEF child-friendly spaces. “They dumped the dead bodies in front of our house. There were my neighbours. I knew them. It hurts me. When we ran away in panic, we were separated and my uncle was killed.”

UNICEF also calls on the transitional government of CAR and all armed forces and armed groups operating in the country to abide by international law, including Security Council Resolutions 1612, 1882 and 2121 to end the recruitment and use of children, the killing and maiming of children, and sexual violence against children in situations of armed conflict.

UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org 

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For further information, please contact:
In Bangui - Linda Tom, Chief of Communications; ltom@unicef.org; Tel: 236 70 55 02 10
In Dakar - Laurent Duvillier, Communication Specialist; lduvillier@unicef.org; Tel: 221 77 740 35 77




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