Central African Republic
The information below is based on the Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council (A/67/845–S/2013/245) issued on 15 May 2013.
The reporting period saw an overall decrease in the occurrence of grave violations against children. Hostilities resumed in December 2012 between the Government and the Séléka coalition, however, and, limited access notwithstanding, the United Nations received alarming reports continuing into 2013 of recruitment and use of children by armed groups and pro-Government militias, killing of children associated with those groups in the course of military operations and sexual violence against children by armed groups. Although these developments do not fall within the reporting period, the progress achieved and the violations committed in 2012 need to be placed against the backdrop of the recent deterioration of the security situation.
During the reporting period, the country task force documented 41 cases of recruitment of children, of which 23 occurred in Haut-Mbomou and Mbomou prefectures, 14 in Haute-Kotto prefecture, 2 in Nana Grébizi prefecture and 2 in Bamingui-Bangoran prefecture. The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) appeared to be responsible for most of the cases, closely followed by the Séléka coalition. In December 2012, the country task force verified 11 cases of rerecruitment of boys by the Convention des patriotes pour la justice et la paix fondamentale (CPJP fondamentale) and the Union des forces démocratiques pour le rassemblement (UFDR), both part of the Séléka coalition, in Haute-Kotto and Bamingui-Bangoran prefectures. Eight of those children had earlier been associated with UFDR and three with CPJP and all had been separated from them by child protection actors earlier in 2012. On 24 December 2012, the Central African National Police broke into a reception centre in Bangui and detained 64 children formerly associated with CPJP and UFDR, alleging that they were rebels. The children were paraded through Bangui market and questioned by the national police. Following high-level advocacy by the United Nations, they were eventually released. Owing to security constraints, the country task force was unable to verify the presence of children in the Mouvement des libérateurs centrafricains pour la justice in Birao (Vakaga prefecture) and in the Front démocratique du peuple centrafricain in Kabo (Nana Grébizi prefecture).
During the reporting period, the country task force documented 10 cases of killing of children, as opposed to 88 in 2011. This decrease appeared to be linked to the cessation of hostilities between CPJP and UFDR in 2012. During armed confrontations on 23 January 2012 between the Central African and Chadian armed forces on the one hand, and the Front patriotique pour le redressement (FPR) on the other, four children were killed. Overall, the total number of child casualties in 2012 is estimated to be higher, given that the country task force was unable to verify incidents that occurred during the crisis of December 2012 owing to security constraints.
Incidents of sexual violence remained a concern throughout 2012. The country task force verified 22 cases, of which 13 were perpetrated by members of FPR, who raped several girls between 9 and 17 years of age in the villages of Damara and Ngoukpe (Ombella-Mpoko prefecture). The country task force also received reports of rape of girls in Bambari, Bria, Ndele and Bangui by the Séléka coalition in December 2012. Between 2 and 5 February 2012, members of the Chadian army in Ndele raped three 15-year-old girls and a 17-year-old girl during their return to Chad after providing support to the offensive by the Central African armed forces against FPR. Although the cases were reported to the Governments of the Central African Republic and Chad, no action has been taken to date.
The number of attacks on schools and hospitals decreased, with 6 incidents recorded in 2012, compared with 12 in 2011. In January 2012, for example, the school in Ouadango (Nana Grébizi prefecture) was destroyed when a Chadian army helicopter landed on it during a military operation against FPR. Two other schools were used by CPJP in Yangoudrounja (Haute-Kotto prefecture) and Miamani (Bamingui-Bangoran prefecture) as military outposts. Three health centres in Nana Grébizi, Haute-Kotto and Mbomou prefectures were used by CPJP and medical equipment there was looted. CPJP also continued to use the health centre in Aigbando (Haute-Kotto prefecture), affecting the access to health services of more than 1,000 children.
Humanitarian access was severely hampered, especially in Bamingui-Bangoran, Basse Kotto, Ouham, Haute-Kotto, Mbomou, Haut-Mbomou and Vakaga prefectures, owing to the presence of armed groups in those regions. During the reporting period, the country task force recorded an increase in attacks by CPJP, UFDR and the Séléka coalition against humanitarian organizations, with 18 incidents in Bamingui-Bangoran and Haute-Kotto prefectures between October and December 2012. On 15 November 2012, for example, Chadian elements of the tripartite force composed of military units from the Central African Republic, Chad and the Sudan broke into a non-governmental organization compound in Birao (Vakaga prefecture) and assaulted a humanitarian worker. It is estimated that some 395,200 children were deprived of humanitarian assistance in the affected areas owing to security risks.
During the reporting period, CPJP failed to honour its commitment to implement the action plan to end the recruitment and use of children signed by its leadership in November 2011. The splintering of CPJP and a lack of internal cohesion complicated implementation. Children continued to be recruited into the ranks of CPJP and commanders opposed the release of children. During a verification mission by the United Nations in November 2012, 30 children who had been identified by the CPJP leadership for release were prevented from leaving the group. On a separate occasion, on 7 December 2012, CPJP elements in Aigbando prevented the United Nations from separating two girls, aged 14 and 17 years, who had been forcibly recruited by CPJP elements.
The implementation of the action plan signed with the Armée populaire pour la restauration de la République et la démocratie (APRD) was delayed owing to the arrest of the APRD leadership on 6 January 2012. APRD had signed an action plan in October 2011 and released and reintegrated some 1,300 children in 2009 and 2010. During the period under review, APRD was dismantled and all its elements demobilized.
Although the release of children from the ranks of UFDR had begun in 2012, further progress was limited. A first commitment to release all children remaining in its ranks had been signed by UFDR with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in 2007. In November 2011, UFDR reiterated that commitment and allowed the United Nations to verify the presence of children remaining in its ranks. A formal action plan has yet to be signed. Difficulties in gaining access to CPJP and UFDR in remote areas of Vakaga and Haute-Kotto prefectures also hindered the verification and separation of children.
During the reporting period, 345 children (222 boys and 123 girls) were separated from CPJP (157) in Bamingui-Bangoran, Haute-Kotto and Vakaga prefectures; UFDR (170) in Haute-Kotto and Bamingui-Bangoran prefectures; and escaped from LRA (18) in Haut-Mbomou and Mbomou prefectures. In addition, the United Nations estimates that up to 35 children associated with FPR were repatriated to Chad following the dismantling of that armed group in September 2012.
Parties in the Central African Republic
- Convention des patriotes pour la justice et la paix (CPJP).This party has concluded an action plan with the United Nations in line with Security Council resolutions 1539 (2004) and 1612 (2005). (a)
- Convention des patriotes pour la justice et la paix fondamentale (CPJP fondamentale), as part of the Séléka coalition (a)
- Convention patriotique pour le salut du Kodro (CPSK), as part of the Séléka coalition (a)
- Front démocratique du peuple centrafricain (FDPC) (a)
- Mouvement des libérateurs centrafricain pour la justice (MLCJ) (a)
- Union des forces démocratiques pour le rassemblement (UFDR), as part of the Séléka coalition.This party has concluded an action plan with the United Nations in line with Security Council resolutions 1539 (2004) and 1612 (2005). (a)
- Union des forces républicaines (UFR), as part of the Séléka coalition (a)