UN rights groups express concern over children's rights in CAR

[JURIST] The UN Security Council's Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict [official website] expressed concern Monday about children's rights violations in the Central African Republic (CAR). Citing abuses [statement] like rape and other sexual violence as well as recruitment in armed conflict, the council condemned armed rebel groups in the country: the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) [Global Security profile; JURIST news archive]; the People's Army for the Restoration of Democracy; and the Convention of the Patriots for Justice and Peace (CPJP). The council also called upon the CAR government "to work to ensure the immediate and unconditional release of all children associated with these groups, and to refuse any support for any militias that recruit and use children." Also, in advocating the cooperation of armed groups with the UN, the council welcomed a ceasefire last month [UN Refugee Agency report] by the CPJP with the CAR government.

The council's expressed concern comes days after the UN Security Council [official website] itself condemned [press release] the LRA for ongoing attacks in central Africa and called for the release of all civilians and non-combatants including child soldiers. The security council has also requested an official report on the LRA to be submitted in October. In addition, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] released [JURIST report] a report last week about children as victims of war crimes in Somalia. In the report [text, PDF] entitled "In the Line of Fire: Somalia's Children Under Attack," AI provided evidence indicating that armed conflict in areas of Somalia has led to deteriorating human rights conditions, particularly for children. Armed military and civilian forces, like the Islamic terrorist group al-Shabaab [CFR backgrounder], regularly recruit Somalian children to serve as soldiers, often denying access to education and placing the children in danger of death and injury. The report contained vignettes illustrating the impact of fighting outbreaks on Somali youth. AI also enumerated recommendations for protecting children, including the monitoring military recruitment more effectively, initiation of investigations and cooperation with international human rights organizations.

 

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