Central African Republic

From Children's Rights Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Alphabetical Country Selector

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Links to Country specific information:
International  Regional  National  Action  Organisations  Resources

Persistent violations
  • Female genital mutilation[1]
  • Sexual violence and abuse[2]
  • Children involved in armed conflict, including as soldiers[3]
  • Violence against children[4]
  • Inadequate education provision for children[5]
  • Discrimination against women[6]

For more details, go here

Footnotes
  1. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Human Rights Committee, Universal Periodic Review
  2. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Representative of the Secretary-General on internally displaced persons, Universal Periodic Review
  3. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Representative of the Secretary-General on internally displaced persons, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Universal Periodic Review
  4. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Universal Periodic Review
  5. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Representative of the Secretary-General on internally displaced persons, Universal Periodic Review
  6. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Universal Periodic Review



Introduction

The Central African Republic, as its name suggests, is a landlocked state in central Africa. The country has experienced political instability throughout its post-independence history, which has been marked by armed conflict and coups d’Etat. The Republic’s history is replete with human rights abuses, many of which continue, including the killings of civilians by armed groups, sexual violence and the use of children as soldiers.


Geography

The Central African Republic, as its name suggests, is a landlocked country in central Africa. It shares borders with Chad, Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo and Cameroon and has terrain that varies from savannah in the north to equatorial rain-forest in the south. The capital city is Bangui.


Population and Language

Home to 4.8 million people, the population of the C.A.R. has doubled over the last thirty years.[1] There are sizeable communities of Baya, Banda, Sara, Mandja, Mboum and M'baka peoples among the 80 ethnic groups that live in the country, none of which accounts for a majority. French and Sangho are official languages.[2]


History and Politics

The modern day Central African Republic emerged out of the easterly territories of French Equatorial Africa upon the disintegration of the French Empire on the continent. The country became fully independent in 1960 under the leadership of David Dacko but quickly succumbed to a series of coups d'Etat and undemocratic or despotic governments. Significant democratic reforms took place in the 1980s, culminating in the election of Ange-Félix Patasse as President, though his government suffered substantial economic crises and substantial instability. French and African peacekeeping forces entered the country in 1996 to be replaced by UN peacekeepers two years later in the run up to the 1999 elections. UN forces ultimately left in 2000 and Patasse remained in government for three years before Staff General Bozizé overthrew his government in a military coup.[3]

Though General Bozizé initially indicated that he did not intend to stand for the Presidency,[4] he won the presidential election when it was held in 2005, and took leadership of an unstable minority government. Government control outside of the capital has remained minimal under Bozizé's leadership, though he formed a coalition including rebel groups in 2009 which led to greater political stability. Bozizé was returned to the Presidency in 2011 in a generally peaceful election, though the opposition alleged fraud.[5]


Economy

The C.A.R. suffers from high levels of poverty, 63 per cent of the population live on less than US$1.25 per day, and is among the lowest rated countries on the Human Development Index.[6] Areas of the country are rich in natural resources, but the persistent armed conflict has left these resources largely unexploited.[7] The majority of the population relies on subsistence farming or petty trading, while government income largely sourced from agricultural exports, mining, timber, cotton and overseas aid.[8] The Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative and the Multilateral debt Relief Initiative have served to combat national debt, and provided relief worth 59 per cent of GDP in 2009.[9]


Media and Civil Society

Since 2005, media operating in the Central African Republic have experienced a significant improvement in their level of freedom, as media freedom laws have been enacted and media offences have been decriminalised. The press is generally free to criticise the government and addresses potentially controversial issues, such as corruption and military revolts, though two editors were arrested in 2011 after printing allegations that the Defence Minister and the President's son had misused EU funds earmarked for retired soldiers.[10] The impact of the printed press is limited, however, by the low circulation and high cost of such publications in conjunction with high levels of illiteracy. Journalism remains a second job for most in the field, and publications often take a partisan editorial stance in order to attract funding, a policy that can lead to newspapers operating as a mouthpiece for business or government. Radio is the most popular medium, though the majority of radio stations, with the exception of the State-owned Radio Centrafrique and TVCA, do not broadcast outside the Bangui area.[11]

Reporters Without Borders rated the country 62 out of 179 in its 2011/12 Press Freedom Index.


Human Rights and Children's Rights

The history of the Central African Republic is replete with human rights abuses, many of which continue, fuelled by the conflict that continues within the country. Armed groups continue to act with impunity, causing the deaths of civilians, committing rape and destroying people's homes and livelihoods.[12] Progress has been made towards ending the use of children in these armed conflicts, as many militias have begun the process of demobilising children involved in armed conflict, but the practice of using children as soldiers continues in some areas.[13] The education sector too has been badly affected by the instability in the country, leading to the closure of more than a hundred schools affecting an estimated 90,000 children.[14] Jean-Pierre Bembe is currently undergoing trial in relation to crimes allegedly committed as part of the conflict in 2002 and 2003, including crimes against humanity and war crimes.[15]

Children are also vulnerable to accusations of witchcraft and even of being killed as a result of such accusations, both in local communities and under the Criminal Code in which the “offences” of charlatanisme and sorcellerie can result in a death sentence.[16]


Footnotes:

  1. UNDESA, "Population Statistics 2011"
  2. Constitution of the Central African Republic, Article 17
  3. BBC, "CAR coup strongly condemned" 17 March 2003
  4. BBC, "Q&A: Central African Republic elections" 11 March 2005
  5. BBC, "Bozize retains power in Central African Republic" 3 February 2011
  6. UNDP, "Human Development Indicators"
  7. World Bank, "Country Brief"
  8. Foreign and Commonweatlh Office, "Central African Republic Country Profile"
  9. See African Development Bank Group, "Central African Republic: Completion Point Document under the Enhanced HIPC Initiative" 24 September 2009
  10. Reporters Without Borders, "Judge fines and releases two detained journalists" 11 July 2011
  11. Reporters Without Borders, "World Report: Central African Republic"
  12. Amnesty International, "World Report 2012: The state of the world's human rights"
  13. UN News Centre, "Republique Centrafricaine: L'ONU soutient la démobilisation d'enfant soldats" 22 November 2011
  14. Representative of the Secretary-general on internally displaced persons, country visit 24 February - 3 March 2007 (A/HRC/8/6/Add.1)
  15. See ICC-01/05--1/08
  16. Representative of the Secretary-general on internally displaced persons, country visit 31 January - 7 February 2008 (A/HRC/11/2/Add.3)

Sources:

Quick Facts