NEW YORK (May 10, 2013) – UNICEF condemns in the strongest possible terms the recruitment into armed groups and killing of a 17-year-old boy in the Central African Republic.
On April 24, a 17-year-old and 19-year-old, whose names are withheld to protect the identities of their families, were ordered by an officer (known as the Colonel) of the Seleka rebel group to steal a vehicle in the capital of Bangui. A crowd gathered at the scene, and they were stoned to death by a mob while the Colonel leading the attempted theft fled the scene.
The two killed had been discharged from the Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace (CPJP) rebel movement and were part of a group of 64 children associated with armed groups who had been moved to Bangui in December 2012 when the fighting intensified. Many of these children were placed with foster families, and some were re-recruited after the Seleka took over the capital in March.
“We wish to express our sympathy to the families of the two young people, one of whom was a child, and condemn the actions that led to this tragedy,” said Souleymane Diabate, UNICEF Representative in CAR. “We call for urgent efforts to protect children affected by conflict and request the immediate release of all children associated with armed groups. Action must be taken against those who are recruiting and using children to commit crimes.”
UNICEF is engaging with all parties to protect the rights of children in armed conflict in CAR. UNICEF is working intensively to halt the recruitment of children and to support their release and reunification with their families and communities.
All children have the right to be protected from violence. The recruitment and use of children in armed conflict is one of the six grave children’s rights violations according to Security Council Resolution 1612, and those who commit such crimes against children must be held accountable.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in 190 countries and territories to save and improve children’s lives, providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when ZERO children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.