Children being brutalized in CAR: UNICEF

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Children in the Central African Republic. OCHA/ Laura Fultang

A warning from UNICEF – the UN children's agency – that children are being brutalized in the Central African Republic.

The agency says 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, Bangui since early December.

UNICEF and partners have verified killings of at least 16 children, and injuries among 60, since the outbreak of communal violence in Bangui on 5 December.

UNICEF Representative in CAR, Souleymane Diabate, said "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," adding, “Targeted attacks against children are a violation of international humanitarian and human rights law and must stop immediately.

He said "Concrete action is needed now to prevent violence against children”.

Diabate said that armed elements were accountable for taking specific measures to provide crucial protection to children, including: children must not be recruited into the fighting, nor targeted; the immediate release of children associated with armed forces and groups, and their protection from reprisals; and transit centers set up for the release and reintegration of children must also be protected from attacks.

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.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’26′

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