In the face of the intensifying violence in the Central African Republic, including on a playing field and a church, more and more children are being killed and injured, says UNICEF. UNICEF is calling on all armed groups to stop actions that are putting civilian lives at risk, either through fighting or by preventing humanitarian aid reaching those in need. 

“Children are caught in the crossfire in their daily activities, when playing football or attending church. This is outrageous,” said Souleymane Diabate, UNICEF’s Representative in the Central African Republic (CAR). “Today, there are less and less places where children from the Central African Republic are safe”. 

Three weeks after the Seleka rebel alliance seized power in a military coup, widespread insecurity, looting and violence have put the lives of Central African children at greater risk than ever. Since last Friday, fighting taking place in the capital city of Bangui has claimed the lives of at least three children and left 25 others injured, with four of those in critical condition. 

Since renewed clashes erupted at the end of March, many other children have been victims of stray bullets, while others have been recruited into armed groups. There has also been a documented increase in cases of sexual violence.

“We are seeing a country quickly sliding down into a spiral of chaos with more children’s lives endangered,” said Diabate. “Violence against children must stop. These acts in which innocent people have been killed and wounded must be investigated immediately by the authorities in power”.

Last week, UNICEF distributed emergency basic obstetric surgical kits, health equipment and medicines to 15 health centres, four hospitals and a maternity clinic in and around Bangui. Children injured last week have received emergency medical care with UNICEF supplies. 

Yet, there is still a severe shortage of surgical facilities, supplies, and qualified doctors and nurses across the country as insecurity continues to prevent humanitarian access to much of the country.
UNICEF calls on the international community to mobilize urgently needed humanitarian funding and to actively engage in promoting conflict resolution efforts to immediately halt the ongoing violence before it sinks into total anarchy and eliminates any hope for the future of CAR’s children.



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Notes for editors:
 
For more information or an interview with a UNICEF spokesperson in the region, please contact: Stefan Simanowitz 0207 375 6077 or Rebecca Wynn on 0207 375 6030 or rwynn@unicef.org.uk
 
About UNICEF
UNICEF is the world’s leading organisation working for children and their rights in more than 190 countries. As champion of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF works to help every child realise their full potential. Together with our partners, UNICEF delivers health care, nutrition, education and protection to children in urgent need, while working with governments to ensure they deliver on their promise to protect and promote the rights of every child. UNICEF relies entirely on voluntary donations from individuals, governments, institutions and corporations, and is not funded by the UN budget. For more information, please visit www.unicef.org.uk