BANGUI, Central African Republic, 12 February, 2016 – As Central African voters prepare to cast their ballot on Sunday to elect their next President and members of Parliament, UNICEF is asking the candidates to place the interests of children at the heart of the political agenda by making strong commitments and investing in survival, education and child protection.
“The only way for the next President of the Central African Republic to break the cycle of violence for good will be to invest in children,” said Mohamed Malick Fall, UNICEF Representative in CAR. “Children will not vote this Sunday, their voices will not be reflected in the ballots, but the most serious political mistake would be to ignore those who will determine if the future holds a lasting peace in Central African Republic.”
In March 2015, a “Children’s Forum” took place in Bangui with UNICEF support. Children from all over the country came together to discuss their hopes for the future. Perhaps not surprisingly, peace and security ranked first in their concerns; they asked for an end to violence, for the return of hundreds of thousands of refugees and displaced people, and for the reopening of schools and health centers.
“We are hopeful that the final stage of the electoral process will confirm the country’s return to peace,” said Mohamed Malick Fall. “Children have paid the highest price in this conflict, and we will need to mobilize all of our energy and resources to ensure that the return of peace enables young people to flourish in the best interests of the country and its development."
Almost three years into the crisis, the main childhood indicators in the Central African Republic are alarming;
- Under-five mortality rate is 164/1000 (8th highest in the world),
- 41 per cent of children under five are chronically malnourished,
- One third of school-age children do not go to school,
- 38 per cent of the schools were attacked or looted during the crisis,
- 6,000 to 10,000 children have been recruited by armed groups during the crisis
UNICEF has launched an appeal for $55.6 million dollars in 2016 to provide to meet the humanitarian needs for children in the Central African Republic.
Note to the editors:
Beyond the emergency response, UNICEF in the Central African Republic is currently supporting several programs that aim to create a better environment for children. Among these programmes are: -Reconstruction of the education system, with programs funded by the European Union and the Global Partnership for Education; -Rehabilitation of the maternal and child health centers ; -Demobilization and reinsertion of children associated with armed groups -Birth registration, campaigns against violence to women and children and early marriage.
About UNICEF UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org
For more information, please contact: Donaig Le Du, UNICEF CAR, email@example.com, +236 700 09706
Christophe Boulierac, UNICEF Geneva, firstname.lastname@example.org, +41 799 639 244