Secretary-General’s Special Representative Briefs Security Council Committees on Plight of Children in Central African Republic

Press release issued by the UN Security Council

On 3 December 2015, the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 2127 (2013) and the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict held joint consultations featuring a briefing by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, concerning the impact of the conflict on children in the Central African Republic.  The joint informal consultations aimed to enhance collaboration and coordination between the two bodies in order to advance the protection of children.

In her briefing, Ms. Zerrougui stated that the impact of the conflict on children has been immense, particularly since December 2013, and that the most recent upsurge of violence that started in September has also taken a large toll on children.  She highlighted that children continued to be subjected to violations and abuses by all parties to conflict, including recruitment and use by armed groups, rape and sexual violence, as well as being killed or maimed in violent attacks.  She further reminded the members that some improvements in the situation had been made during the Bangui Forum in May 2015 and stressed the importance of protecting these gains, for the sake of the protection of children and their release from armed groups.

Citing names of perpetrators, the Special Representative called upon the 2127 Sanctions Committee and Panel of Experts on the Central African Republic to continue to conduct investigations on armed groups recruiting and using children in the Central African Republic, particularly to look into their command and control structures to identify individual and command responsibilities for grave violations against children.  Moreover, Ms. Zerrougui emphasized the importance of ensuring greater accountability of perpetrators of grave violations against children, and encouraged a stronger collaboration between the 2127 Sanctions Committee and the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict.

Finally, the Special Representative shared her concerns about the potential re-arming of the Forces armées centrafricaines (FACA) and the fact that, without a formal vetting and proper safeguards in place, perpetrators of grave human rights violations, including against children, could be re-integrated into the FACA and granted positions of power.

Members of the Committee and Working Group condemned the deplorable violations and abuses against children in the Central African Republic.  They expressed deep concern over the impact of the deteriorating humanitarian situation on children, the disruption of access to education caused by attacks against schools, the military use of schools and the ongoing recruitment and use of children in the conflict.  They called for an end to all violations and abuses against children and agreed that the issue of the protection of children should be given continued attention.

Members of the Committee and the Working Group also expressed support for enhanced collaboration between the Committee, the Panel of Experts, the Working Group, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, with a view to the submission of information leading to the potential designation of individuals engaged in the recruitment or use of children in armed conflict in the Central African Republic, in violation of applicable international law.

This press release was originally published here: http://www.un.org/press/en/2015/sc12157.doc.htm