The Central African Republic has been characterised by long-lasting violence against a backdrop of state disintegration and deep inter-ethnic cleavages. Northern CAR has a majority Muslim population whilst the south is predominately Christian. CAR was plunged into turmoil in 2013 when the Muslim Séléka coup from the northeast overthrew Christian President Francois Bozizé from power. To combat this coup d’état a Christian resistance rose up to fight the Séléka group known as the Anti-Balaka militia.
This conflict has destroyed CAR with over 420,000 internally displaced and almost half the population are in need of humanitarian assistance. As war ravages on in CAR there are estimates of more than 6,000 child soldiers fighting from both sides with children as young as eight being recruited. Whilst some are forcibly recruited, others are motivated to join out of frustration and anger at the deteriorating situation in the country. Young children have suffered terrible trauma, been torn form their homes, separated from their families and committed forced acts of dreadful violence.
It is deeply upsetting that there are still so many children embroiled in this conflict. It is essential for the International Community to be more committed in providing a positive platform for these children such as reintegration into the education system and bring safety within the local communities. The children of CAR are dreaming of an optimistic future free from war and it is the International Community’s duty to fulfill these children’s dreams.