RAPED, SHOT AND TRAUMATISED – NEW REPORT TO SHOW SCALE OF VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN IN C.A.R. ON 1ST ANNIVERSARY OF COUP
GENERATION OF CHILDREN FACE HORRORS IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC AS DONORS SLOW TO ACT, WARNS WAR CHILD UK
A year on from the coup in the Central African Republic (CAR), a generation of children is facing a wave of extreme violence, as donors fail to live up to their responsibility to address an 82% funding gap in urgent humanitarian aid, according to a new report by War Child UK released on Monday, March 24th.
The charity says atrocities have been committed against children as young as three years old, and four in ten of the most vulnerable children have lost their fathers in the bloodshed.
The War Child report – A Vicious Cycle for Children – uses data from hundreds of children and families, collected over the past year, which reveals that children have been raped, shot and forced to watch their parents murdered in the ongoing violence that has engulfed CAR.
The report includes testimony from children and young people targeted with sexual violence, including a 12-year-old girl who told the charity: “A bullet hit my house while I was in bed. A soldier broke into my house and raped me.” The charity also spoke to a three-year-old girl, found bleeding after being raped.
Violence is spread across CAR with 2.3 million children affected by the crisis countrywide.
Rob Williams, Chief Executive of War Child UK, said:
“Every day the crisis in the Central African Republic is worsening – and children are the innocent victims. Our survey shows the appalling impact on children and young people, who are losing their parents, their homes and their futures. Children in War Child centres in Bangui are presenting some of the worst stories we have seen in any conflict zone.”
Among the accounts reported to War Child in two separate surveys were that of a young woman who was gang raped after witnessing her own mother’s rape and a 12-year-old girl who was shot during the fighting. A four-year-old boy told charity staff he had seen his father murdered
The data collected from hundreds of children and their family members, the most vulnerable cases encountered by War Child, reveals:
- Four in ten (42%) of displaced children had lost their fathers.
- One in ten (11%) of displaced children had been orphaned.
- Almost 10% of women and girls interviewed before the latest violence had been raped.
- 95% of girls and 75% of boys said they needed support to cope with psychological trauma.
A Vicious Cycle for Children argues that, whilst there is clear urgency to halt brutal atrocities affecting children, CAR has been a chronically neglected crisis for decades, receiving neither the levels of aid funding, nor international attention, commensurate with need. This has directly contributed to the severe impacts of the conflict on children.
War Child is calling for donors, including the UK government, to urgently increase immediate and long-term support to the country.
Rob Williams said:
“The severity of the crisis in CAR demands the international community’s urgent and sustained attention. Unless action is taken now and for the long-term, a whole generation of children will face a lifetime of trauma, damage setting the country’s recovery back many decades.”