UN Authority Figures

U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) Executive Board: Central African Republic

Photo: Children play inside a church, where their families took refuge following the wave of deadly violence on December 7. Source: CNN
"Escalating violence in the Central African Republic is posing a threat to children, with at least two beheaded and thousands recruited as soldiers. The United Nations says it verified the deaths of 16 children since violence broke out in the capital of Bangui on December 5. Dozens of others have been injured." (Children beheaded as violence grows in Central African Republic, CNN, January 4, 2104)

Mission of the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF): "UNICEF is mandated by the UN General Assembly to advocate for the protection of children's rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential. UNICEF is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and strives to establish children's rights as enduring ethical principles and international standards of behaviour towards children. UNICEF mobilizes political will and material resources to help countries, particularly developing countries, ensure a "first call for children" and to build their capacity to form appropriate policies and deliver services for children and their families. UNICEF is committed to ensuring special protection for the most disadvantaged children - victims of war, disasters, extreme poverty, all forms of violence and exploitation and those with disabilities. UNICEF responds in emergencies to protect the rights of children. In everything it does, the most disadvantaged children and the countries in greatest need have priority." (U.N. Children's Fund web-site, "UNICEF's Mission Statement")

Term of office: 2013-2015

CAR's Record on Children:
"According to numerous human rights observers, some armed groups included soldiers as young as 12...Several NGO observers reported that self-defense committees, established by towns to combat armed groups and bandits in areas where the FACA [Central African Armed Forces] or gendarmes were not present or were incapable of providing effective security, used children as combatants, lookouts, and porters. UNICEF estimated that children constituted one third of the self-defense committees' personnel. The LRA [Lord's Resistance Army] continued to kidnap children and force them to fight, act as porters, or function as sex slaves. Between July 2009 and February 2012, the LRA abducted an estimated 102 children (64 boys and 38 girls) in the country...Girls did not have equal access to primary education...A majority of girls dropped out at the age of 14 or 15 due to societal pressure to marry and bear children... Child abuse and neglect were widespread, although rarely acknowledged...Child labor was widespread...Many experts believed that HIV/AIDS and a belief in sorcery, particularly in rural areas, contributed to the large number of street children. An estimated 300,000 children had lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS, and children accused of sorcery (often reportedly in connection with HIV/AIDS-related deaths in their neighborhoods) frequently were expelled from their households." (US State Department's Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2012, Central African Republic)

"Attacks against children have sunk to a vicious new low, with at least two children beheaded, and one of them mutilated, in the violence that has gripped the capital since early December.
'We are witnessing unprecedented levels of violence against children. More and more children are being recruited into armed groups, and they are also being directly targeted in atrocious revenge attacks,' said Souleymane Diabate, UNICEF Representative in CAR. 'Targeted attacks against children are a violation of international humanitarian and human rights law and must stop immediately. Concrete action is needed now to prevent violence against children,' Diabate said. UNICEF and partners have verified the killings of at least 16 children, and injuries among 60, since the outbreak of communal violence in Bangui on 5 December." (Children being brutalized in the Central African Republic, UNICEF, December 30, 2013)