Central African Republic

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CountryCentral African Republic
Optional protocolon the involvement of children in armed conflict, on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
Corporal punishmentCorporal Punishment is legal in the home, alternative care settings, day care, schools and penal institutions.
Overview of the child rights situation

The report of the Central African Republic shows that the country still has a lot to do in order to implement the Convention and guarantee all children their rights. A major problem are armed conflicts in which children are recruited or injured by fighting. The country has also taken in a large number of refugees, including minors, but they cannot be adequately cared for. The country is very poor and lacks a good public infrastructure in education and health care.

Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

The Committee is seriously concerned about the very high percentage of child marriages and the prevalent practice of genital mutilation of girls, which is predominant in rural areas. The Committee is also concerned that an abductor or kidnapper may marry the abducted or kidnapped girl and that as a wife she does not have the right to file a legal complaint, which is required for prosecution.
To improve the situation, the Committee urges the State party to take the measures necessary to strictly enforce the legal provisions criminalizing the genital mutilation of girls, including by making the national committee against female genital mutilation operational, and by developing and implementing education and awareness-raising programmes, involving local officials, law enforcement officers, community leaders, women and the media, to address social norms and rites that are harmful to girls.

Racism, children belonging to a minority and indigenous childrenThe Committee welcomes the measures taken by the State party to protect the rights of pygmy children, but is concerned about their still limited access to birth registration, identity documents, health and educational services and the persistently high rates of infant mortality and malnutrition among pygmy children.<br /> To improve the situation, the Committee urges the State party to develop a national action plan to decrease the infant mortality and malnutrition rates of pygmy children, with the participation of pygmy communities and children, in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures related to them. Also, the State party should provide all pygmy children with birth certificates and identity documents and promote their access to health and education services as well as develop a public awareness campaign on the rights of pygmy children to address negative social attitudes towards them.
Situation of children with disabilities

The Committee is concerned about the fact that most children with disabilities do not attend school and that pervasive poverty and extensive armed violence have exacerbated the discrimination and exclusion already faced by these children and further limited their access to adequate care and assistance. The Committee is further concerned that the number of children with impairments due to armed conflict has increased.
To improve the situation, the Committee urges the State party to take urgent measures to elaborate and implement specific programmes for children with disabilities aimed at enhancing their social inclusion, and ensure in particular their access to health and social services, inclusive education and vocational training. Furthermore, the State party should establish a system for collecting data on children with disabilities in order to design inclusion policies and also ensure that children with disabilities have access to social protection and poverty reduction programmes.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenThe Committee appreciates that despite the difficult economic, political and security context, the State party has continued to host and integrate refugee and asylum-seeking children, and the Committee welcomes the measures taken to provide health care and education to children in camps for refugees and internally displaced persons. The Committee is however seriously concerned that almost 500,000 of the State party’s nationals are refugees in neighbouring countries, while another 500,000 are internally displaced, representing about one fifth of the population living away from their usual place of residence. The Committee is further concerned about refugee and internally displaced children, who may have been or are at risk of being recruited and/or used in hostilities and/or sexually abused by armed groups.
Free kindergartenNo
Free primary and secondary schoolNo
physical health

The Committee is deeply concerned about the extremely high mortality rate of children due to preventable diseases, such as malnutrition, malaria, respiratory infections and diarrhoea, and notes that this alarming situation is further exacerbated by the security crisis and armed conflict. The Central African Republic also has an insufficient number of vaccination centres and inadequate resources available to the existing ones. Also of concern is the fact that only children who are family members of civil servants, or private sector employees who have contributed, have access to social security.

Relation to other countries
mental health

The Committee is seriously concerned about the lack of mental health services to provide support to children affected by conflict and armed violence. Therefore, the Committee urges the State party to establish a mental health programme dedicated to children, in particular those affected by conflict and armed violence, and develop a system of psychosocial support and assistance for children who are internally displaced, refugees and returnees, addressing their special recovery needs after the traumatic experiences of war.

Business sector

The Committee is concerned about the absence of a national plan or regulation on business and human rights and the impact of the business sector, in particular mining and agriculture, on children’s rights.
The Committee recommends that the State party establish and implement regulations to ensure that the business sector, in particular mining and agriculture, complies with international human rights, labour and environmental law with regard to children’s rights.

Situation of juvenile justice

The Committee is concerned about the detention and imprisonment of children with adults and the lack of rehabilitation and reintegration services.
The Committee urges the State party to bring its juvenile justice system fully into line with the Convention and other relevant standards, and in particular to ensure that children are not detained together with adults and that detention conditions are compliant with international standards, including with regard to access to education and health services. Furthermore, the State party should train judges on children’s rights and establish juvenile justice procedures.

In addition, the Committee is concerned about the very limited measures taken by the State party to protect and assist child witnesses and victims of crime and therefore recommends that the State party ensure that all child victims and/or witnesses of crime receive the protection provided for in the Convention.

Specific observations

The Committee notes the severe impact of the political and security crisis affecting the State party and the difficulties faced in bringing an end to incidents of extreme violence between armed groups, which have led and continue to lead to severe violations of children’s rights, and constitute a serious obstacle to the implementation of the rights enshrined in the Convention. The Committee notes the large movements of refugees and internally displaced people, as well as the serious economic problems faced by the State party, which are a further impediment to the implementation of children’s rights.

Additionally, the Committee is seriously concerned about the very high child mortality rate, the deaths and maiming of hundreds of children by the ex-Séléka and associated armed groups and the anti-Balaka elements, and the thousands of children displaced by the armed conflict.

Additional BackgroundConcluding observations on the second periodic report released on 8 march 2017.
Last Updated (date)2nd of March, 2022