State of Neglect: Displaced Children in the Central African Republic.
Author(s): L. Perez
Children who have been forcibly displaced by violence in the north of the Central African Republic (CAR) face extreme insecurity, deprivation and exploitation. This report focuses on three main topics: internal displacement in CAR, the situation of children in four towns affected by displacement and the legal and institutional frameworks needed to protect the human rights of displaced children under 18 years of age. The study was conducted in the northern towns of CAR: Kambakota, Batangafo, Kabo and Bocaranga by interviewing internally displaced people (IDPs) including women, children and representatives of local communities and international organisations. The report demonstrates that although generalised poverty and underdevelopment in CAR affect all children, displaced children have specific protection needs that make them more vulnerable to human rights abuses than children who are not displaced. In many areas of northern CAR there is simply no information on the situation of displaced children. For example, despite Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, internally displaced children in the Central African Republic are more likely to face economic exploitation, violence, ethnic discrimination and absence of basic necessities, such as inadequate shelter, insufficient food and no access to safe drinking water. Displaced children have also been victims of recruitment into armed groups, and more recently into self-defence militias. The study concludes with a list of recommendations addressed to:
- the government of CAR, to 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 as well as to end government support and training of community self-defence militias in the north of the country;
- armed opposition groups, to release all children under the age of 18 currently serving in armed groups, and end further recruitment and use of children and to uphold individual ceasefire agreements signed with the government;
- different UN agencies working in CAR, to encourage all parties to uphold ceasefire agreements, to engage actively and constructively in the peace process, to provide technical support to the government for strengthening the National Human Rights Commission and to deliver humanitarian assistance to displaced people most in need.