State of neglect: displaced children in the Central African Republic

State of neglect: displaced children in the Central African Republic

Protection problems for displaced children

Internally displaced children in Central African Republic (CAR) face severe protection problems from ongoing insecurity and violence. Many have been recruited into the armed forces, kidnapped, and abducted to work as porters of stolen property. This document outlines a fact-finding mission which researched and reported on the protection and assistance needs of displaced children in CAR.

The report highlights how the nutrition, water and sanitation, health, and shelter needs of CAR’s displaced children remain largely unmet and many are without adequate shelter. Displaced children face economic exploitation as they are forced to work in fields belonging to host communities in exchange for food or meagre pay. In addition displaced children from minority groups such as the Peuhl face ethnic discrimination. The authors warn that international humanitarian organisations have not focused specifically on displaced children’s needs, and so have been unable to meet them in timely and efficient ways; and a wider presence of child-mandated organisations working on the ground is urgently needed in areas of displacement. The following recommendations are provided:

  • the CAR government must re-establish and strengthen the presence of the state in the north of the county by restoring social services that provide health care, water and sanitation, and education, and by providing security through training, equipping and deploying security forces
  • the CAR government must ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict
  • the government must work closely with UNICEF to determine if there are children under the age of 18 in the Central African armed forces, and if so, release them in accordance with international obligations
  • armed groups must release all children under the age of 18 currently serving in armed groups, and end further recruitment and use of children
  • the UN Peacebuilding Commission must encourage all parties to conflict in northern CAR to uphold ceasefire agreements and to engage actively and constructively in the peace process
  • donor governments must increase funding to UN agencies and humanitarian organisations for assistance programmes that improve the living conditions of displaced people, including children.




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