Children being brutalised in the Central African Republic

1st February 2014

Felicia, 13, is one of the 2 million children affected by violence in the Central African Republic

Attacks against children in the Central African Republic 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, as verified by the children’s organisation UNICEF.

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 Central African Republic.

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.

Diabate said that armed elements were accountable for taking specific measures to provide this crucial protection to children. These included:

Some 370,000 people – almost half the population in Bangui – have been displaced to dozens of displacement sites across the capital over the past three weeks. Around 785,000 people have been internally displaced throughout the country since the outbreak of violence over a year ago.

UNICEF is scaling up relief efforts among displaced communities, including the provision of safe water, sanitation facilities and medical supplies, and setting up safe spaces for children.

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Read the BBC report on violence in the Central African Republic