Statement delivered at HRC55 on Item 10: High-Level Dialogue on the human rights situation in the Central African Republic

Statement delivered at HRC55 on Item 10: High-Level Dialogue on the human rights situation in the Central African Republic

 

 

Defence for Children International remains concerned about the early marriage of girls in the Central African Republic. 61% of girls are married before the age of 18 and 26% before the age of 15*. The conflict has exacerbated cases of child marriage and it is the most frequently reported form of violence against refugee girls in CAR. Families often see marriage as a way of protecting girls from sexual violence in times of insecurity. Some girls have been forcibly abducted and married off to members of the ex-Seleka and anti-Balaka forces. Orphans are particularly vulnerable to child marriage. The closure of schools due to insecurity also increases the risk of marriage.

 

 

It is estimated that around 10,000 children are still fighting alongside armed groups in the Central African Republic, more than ten years after the start of the civil war. We are concerned that children who have been involved in armed conflict are at risk of returning to combat or being recruited into armed groups. Monitoring and reintegration mechanisms must be put in place to prevent this. The Central African State must ensure that children are treated first and foremost as victims of serious violations.

 

Children in adult prisons face unacceptable conditions. Procedural safeguards are not respected, and their vulnerability is exacerbated. We call for a careful examination of these situations and for immediate corrective measures.

 

The exploitation of children in dangerous environments, such as mines and factories, is a flagrant violation of their fundamental rights. We urge the Central African State to strengthen legislation and implement protection measures to put an end to this practice.

 

The increase in cases of children accused of witchcraft and charlatanism requires increased awareness and alarming collaboration. We need to raise awareness and work with communities to eliminate these harmful beliefs and protect children in vulnerable situations.

 

Thousands of school-age children are still deprived of education in the Central African Republic. We call for increased support for the national strategy to ensure that every child has access to quality education.

 

In conclusion, we recommend the Central African State to :

  • Strictly respect the protection guarantees for children in conflict with the law, as set out in General Comment 24 of the Committee on the Rights of the Child.
  • Implement of a strategy for monitoring and reintegrating released children.
  • Careful monitor of the situation of children in conflict zones in order to prevent their recruitment into armed groups and the worst forms of child labour.
  • Support the national education strategy, by investing in school infrastructure and remedial programmes to give children in difficulty access to education.

 

Read full statement (in French) here

*source

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