Action Plan to Protect Children Signed in the Central African Republic
New York, 14 June 2018 – The leading UN advocate for the protection and well-being of children affected by armed conflict welcomes the signing of an Action Plan to end and prevent grave violations against children between the Mouvement Patriotique pour la Centrafrique (MPC), part of the Former Séléka coalition, and the United Nations and asks for its immediate implementation.
The Action Plan covers the four violations against children for which the group is listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC), namely recruitment and use, killing and maiming, rape and other forms of sexual violence and attacks on schools and hospitals, bringing the engagement to protect children a step further.
“I recognize the commitment taken today by the leaders of the MPC,” said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and armed Conflict, Ms. Virginia Gamba. “The Action Plan provides a framework to end and prevent violations against children in CAR; it is the beginning of a process. The UN and its partners will support the implementation of the Action Plan, including reintegration for all children released and support to victims of grave violations,” she added.
The MPC becomes the first party to conflict currently listed in the annexes of the SG Report on Children and Armed Conflict in the country to sign an Action Plan with the UN to end and prevent violations against children.
This commitment follows others by armed groups in CAR, including the May 2015 Bangui Forum when ex- Séléka and other armed groups agreed to release children from their rank and to enable the UN and partners to have unimpeded and unconditional access to the areas under their control in order to verify the presence of children. Following the UN engagement with armed groups, command orders barring the recruitment of children were issued in 2017 by the Front populaire pour la renaissance de la Centrafrique (FPRC) and the Union pour la paix en Centrafrique (UPC).
Despite this milestone, the situation in CAR remains extremely worrying with a significant increase in verified violations against children in the past year. Intercommunal violence and confrontations between armed groups have dramatic consequences for the civilian population and more so children.
The government of the Central African Republic ratified in September last year the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, following strong advocacy by the United Nations and the international community. The UN will continue to work with all actors in the country to ensure that children are allowed to be children in a safe environment with stronger protection and prevention mechanisms.
“Action Plans have become key tools to improving the plight of children affected by armed conflict, but also to engage with parties to conflict and change attitude and behaviors. I urge all parties to conflict listed in the SG Report to also engage with the UN and adopt Action Plans,” SRSG Gamba added.
Note to editors:
UN Security Council resolutions 1539 (2004), 1612 (2005), 1882 (2009), 1998 (2011) and 2225 (2015) on Children and Armed Conflict established measures and tools to end grave violations against children, through the creation of a monitoring and reporting mechanism, and the development of Action Plans to end violations by parties listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s annual report on children and armed conflict.
*In the Central African Republic, three parties to conflict are listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General Annual Report. They are: Former Séléka coalition and associated armed groups (recruitment and use, killing and maiming, rape and other forms of sexual violence, attacks on schools and hospitals); Local defence militias known as the anti-balaka groups (recruitment and use, killing and maiming, rape and other forms of sexual violence); and the Lord’s Resistance Army groups (recruitment and use, killing and maiming, rape and other forms of sexual violence, abductions).
*The MPC is part of the Former Séléka coalition and associated armed groups.
You can read the latest report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in the Central African Republic here
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