1) A strengthened response to the needs of children affected by armed conflict in CAR:

Watchlist/IDMC’s report An Uncertain Future? stressed the urgent need for additional resources to strengthen the UN’s ability to monitor and report on violations against children in the context of the MRM and to provide assistance to children affected by armed conflict, in particular psycho-social programs for demobilized children.

In the wake of the report, a number of major donors reacted to Watchlist’s detailed description of the urgent needs of children in the Central African Republic and its strong push for increased funding for child protection programming:

  • The Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, the Permanent Representative of Belgium to the UN, committed to releasing funds from the Peacebuilding Fund for demobilization programs for children formerly associated with self-defense militias.
  • The Government of Japan donated a grant of US$ 12 million (¥ 98,000,000) to UNICEF to rebuild social service facilities in the conflict affected north and south-east. The grant will help at least 200,000 of the country’s most vulnerable children gain access to basic education, health care and safe water and sanitation.
  • Other entities that have expressed interest in funding additional child protection activities in the Central African Republic: the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), UNICEF.

2) “Fixing the MRM” is top priority for the UN in the Central African Republic

The new Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Central African Republic, Ms. Margaret Vogt, is committed to “fixing the MRM” in-country and improving the protection of children and women are at the top of her agenda. To demonstrate her commitment, she has created a protection cell within BINUCA, the UN Mission in the Central African Republic.

3) Key developments in the Central African Republic in the period following the release of Watchlist/IDMC’s report An Uncertain Future?

Ceasefire agreement between the government and the Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace (CPJP): Watchlist had strongly pushed for the government to negotiate a cease-fire agreement with the rebel group CPJP in order to restore humanitarian access to the Northeast of the country and to promote the release of all children serving in CPJP ranks. A ceasefire agreement was finally signed on June 12, 2011.

Action Plan signed between the UN and the Popular Army for the Restoration of Democracy (APRD): Watchlist had highlighted the importance of an Action Plan between the UN and the APRD to prevent further recruitment and use of child soldiers and ensure a sustainable reintegration of children demobilized from APRD’s ranks. The UN and the APRD finally signed an Action Plan on October 19, 2011.

Action Plan signed between the UN and the Convention Patriots for Justice and Peace (CPJP): Watchlist had strongly advocated for the UN Country Team to work with the MRM Task Force in CAR to develop and implement an action plan for the release of children from CPJP ranks. UN representatives with CPJP President Abdoulaye Hissene finally signed an Action Plan on November 21st 2011.

Additional photos of the Action Plan Signing can be found here