UNICEF condemns new recruitment of children by armed groups in Central African RepublicListen /
The United Nations children's agency (UNICEF) has condemned the new recruitment of children by armed groups in the Central African Republic and called for their immediate release.
The agency says it has clear evidence of the continuing recruitment and use of children by armed groups in the country and is warning the leaders that such practices are a grave violation of international law.
It says the takeover of the capital, Bangui, by rebels from the Seleka coalition at the end of March has not stopped such human rights violations.
UNICEF spokesperson in Geneva Marixie Mercado says the Central African Republic has a history of children associated with armed forces and groups.
"Before the latest upsurge of fighting began in December last year, UNICEF estimates that at least 2,000 boys and girls were associated with armed groups. Recruitment of children for use by armed forces and groups has taken place by both sides since December. UNICEF has called on the new leadership in the Central African Republic to immediately release children associated with armed groups and the new authorities in Bangui have indicated their intention to identify and release children among the ranks of armed groups."
Ms. Mercado says UNICEF is committed to working with the authorities in the Central African Republic to stop new recruitment and to support the process of identification, verification and reintegration of children.
Gerry Adams, United Nations.