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Child Soldiers Global Report 2001 - Central African Republic

Publisher Child Soldiers International
Publication Date 2001
Cite as Child Soldiers International, Child Soldiers Global Report 2001 - Central African Republic, 2001, available at: [accessed 26 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Mainly covers the period June 1998 to April 2001 as well as including some earlier information.

  • Population:
    – total: 3,550,000
    – under-18s: 1,751,000
  • Government armed forces:
    – active: 4,150
  • Compulsory recruitment age: 18
  • Voluntary recruitment age: 18
  • Voting age (government elections): 18
  • Child soldiers: none indicated
  • CRC-OP-CAC: not signed
  • Other treaties ratified: CRC; GC/API+II; ILO 138; ILO 182.
  • There are no indications of under-18s in government armed forces. The government has acknowledged that in the past students at military schools may have been drawn into armed conflicts or falsified documents in order to join. Low levels of birth registration further exacerbate the difficulty of verifying age for the purposes of recruitment.


In 1996 and 1997 the Central African Republic experienced three successive mutinies by the Armed Forces. Mediation by the OAU led to the Bangui Agreements of January 1997 and brought the Inter-African Mission to monitor their implementation. The Inter-African Mission was replaced in April 1998 by the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (MINURCA), which remained in operation until February 2000.363 In November 1999 legislation was passed to restructure and reduce the size of the Presidential Security Unit, a force parallel to the military which was known for human rights violations. These plans have been delayed by lack of funds for severance pay and pensions for armed forces members. The loyalty of the military to the civilian government continues to remain doubtful.364


National Recruitment Legislation

Minimum age for conscription or enlistment into the armed forces is 18.365 Conscription is selective and military service lasts for 2 years.366

Child Recruitment

In its initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the government stated that it had no intention of recruiting children into the armed forces in the past. However, it acknowledged that youths in training at the military academy had been drawn into the conflict. It was also suggested that due to the country's poverty, young people looking for work sometimes falsified their documents in order to qualify as army recruits. However army medical examiners may declare that a recruit is too young to serve in the military. The government stated its commitment to applying international humanitarian law relating to children and armed conflict according to the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocols.367

In September 2000, during the CRC's consideration of the report submitted by the Central African Republic, government representatives stated that children were not recruited in the armed forces, and that "Even the armed upheaval that the country had lived through did not entail the drafting of children into the army". Furthermore it was stated that the government had taken measures to monitor children who joined the army by falsifying their date of birth.368 Low levels of birth registration, exacerbated by financial charges imposed by the state for this service, also increase risks of underage recruitment.369

363 UN Security Council Resolution 1159 of 27/3/98.

364 US Department of State, Central African Republic Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 2000. Washington D.C., 2001.

365 Initial Report of the Central African Republic to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, CRC/C/11/Add.18, 18/11/98.

366 Horeman and Stolwijk op. cit.

367 Committee on the Rights of the Child, Summary record of the 657th meeting: Central African Republic. CRC/C/SR657, 9/10/00.

368 UN Press Release, "Committee on the Rights of the Child starts examination of report presented by the Central African Republic", 28/11/00.

369 Committee on the Rights of the Child, concluding observations: Central African Republic, CRC/C/15/Add.138, 16/10/00.

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