Millions of Central African Republic children remain at risk one after peace agreement


The lives of millions of children across the Central African Republic continue to be threatened by violence and lack of access to food, health care, education, water and sanitation even when a peace agreement was signed between the government and other parties to the conflict one year ago, UNICEF reported.

Between January and December 2019, more than 500 grave child rights violations were also reported although the true number is almost certainly higher. Children associated with armed groups are the victim of these rights violations.

The formal commitment of more armed groups to prevent grave violations against children and the fact that children continue to be released, either through joint advocacy efforts or through the national demobilization programme is welcomed by UNICEF.

The country has also adapted a national Child Protection Code, which will be a critical tool to ensure and enforce the protection of Central African children from all forms of violations of their fundamental rights, including recruitment and use in armed groups and forces.

Through joint advocacy efforts of UNICEF and its partners, including the ‘ACT to protect children affected by conflict’ campaign that was launched last May, a draft code is now in front of the Parliament for adoption. The introduction of this code will represent a historic moment for the country, and for the lives of children today and tomorrow.

A transition towards peace and more stability also translates into better access to the most vulnerable children for UNICEF and its partners like special immunization activities are reaching more children. Mobile clinics programme have also been able to access even the most isolated and remote communities and deliver critical support to thousands of children suffering from malnutrition.

Latest data show a significant decrease in the cases of acute malnutrition among children under five compared to 2018, with a 5.8% prevalence of general acute malnutrition in 2019, down from 7.1% in the previous year.

Progress on addressing chronic malnutrition rates, however, has been stagnant for the past 20 years, which shows the need for more efforts and investments into long-term preventive measures for mothers and their children.

The growing number of initiatives in the country have the potential to create life-changing opportunities for Central African children: in a country where the primary school dropout rate is estimated at 40% as a result of insecurity, initiatives like teaching programmes on the radio, which are being piloted by UNICEF in Bangui and Bambari, can be a lifeline for children whose school attendance has been disrupted by years of conflict and displacement.” (Source: Relief Web)