In Central African Republic (CAR) we are strengthening the capacity of the government and others to end the exploitation of children by armed groups, and to enable children to return home.

For example, we are supporting a central African organisation, Enfants Sans Frontières (Children Without Borders), to help prevent the recruitment and use of children in violent conflict, and to protect children from its impact. In 2016, we accompanied Enfants Sans Frontières to Geneva to make representations to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Enfants Sans Frontières has been trying to identify such opportunities for international advocacy for years. This meeting in Geneva is crucial. It is a big step forward for our organisation and we thank Child Soldiers International and its donors to enable us to attend. 

(Brice Kakpayen, Enfants Sans FrontièresDirector)

The issue

As many as 10,000 children were used by armed groups involved in the latest conflict in CAR (2012-2015). Armed groups in the mainly Muslim “Séléka” coalition and predominantly Christian militias called “Anti-Balaka” both used children as young as eight as combatants, guards, human shields, porters, messengers, spies, cooks, and/or for sexual purposes.

Our impact

Our report about the use of children in CAR’s conflict has been used by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva and the UN Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict in New York to convey our concerns and recommendations to the CAR government and others working on the ground. This will support the work of our partner, Enfants Sans Frontières, and others, as they try to protect the rights of children.

What we’ll do next

In 2016-2017, we will work with national and international partners to improve assistance to former child soldiers, through community-based approaches.

We will lobby the CAR government to ratify the OPAC treaty. We also plan to train government officials and Parliamentarians on children’s rights and the prohibition of child recruitment.

We will work with Enfants Sans Frontières and similar organisations to produce awareness-raising materials, which will help to prevent recruitment in vulnerable communities.


The use of children for military purposes in CAR has affected all parts of the country for a long time. Even before the latest conflict, virtually all armed groups and militias were known to have recruited and used children, even though some had made commitments to the UN not to do so. It can be particularly difficult to secure the release and reintegration of children involved in community-based militia, since their families and their former commanders all share the same community background.

Photo © Child Soldiers International