Following an extensive period of consultations and advocacy from the United Nations, the National Assembly in the Central African Republic adopted recently the Child Protection Code which criminalizes the recruitment and use of children among other crimes. The Code was introduced by the Minister for the Promotion of Women, Family and Child Protection.
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, welcomes the Child Protection Code, which emphasizes that children associated with armed groups should be considered primarily as victims and addresses other grave violations against children such as sexual violence.
“This Code is a strong step for the protection of children and the prevention of grave violations. It also brings hope to the victims and I encourage the authorities to continue to pursue accountability for perpetrators of crimes against children and bring them to justice,” said Special Representative Gamba.
The adoption of the law follows a series of commitments taken by the Government and parties to conflict in CAR to better protect children, including the February 2019 Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation which prohibits, inter alia, grave violations against children; the signature of Action Plans in 2019 by the FPRC and the UPC to end and prevent grave violations; and the release of more than 250 children from armed groups in 2019. The Special Representative has also advocated with the Government of CAR for the development of a national prevention plan to thwart violations against children before they are committed.
Despite such progress, children in the Central African Republic continue to endure dramatic levels of grave violations and the Special Representative calls on all parties to fully implement their commitments to protect children, including all provisions included in Actions Plans signed with the United Nations.
She also urged the Government of the Central African Republic to swiftly adopt the draft protocol for the handover of children associated with armed groups to civilian child protection actors, so they can benefit from appropriate reintegration support. “The United Nations stands ready to support the authorities in their efforts to end and prevent all grave violations against children,” Special Representative Gamba added. She further called on the international community to support long-term reintegration programmes for all children released, including through backing the Global Coalition for Reintegration of Child Soldiers.
For additional information, please contact:
Fabienne Vinet, Communications Officer, Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict
+1-212-963-5986 (office) / +1-917-288-5791 (mobile) / firstname.lastname@example.org