Bangui — ARMED groups have released more than 500 children used as soldiers in a civil war in the Central African Republic (CAR).
This is the major breakthrough observed at the launch of a new global advocacy campaign to protect children impacted by wars. The initiative is aptly named, Act to Protect Children Affected by Conflict.
Virginia Gamba, United Nations (UN) Secretary-General's Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, also welcomed the recent release of children by armed groups in South Sudan, as confirmed last month.
Some 121 children were released in that country.
Gamba noted in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), child protection specialists were redoubling their efforts to engage with armed groups and to raise awareness on the needs to release child soldiers and prevent grave violations against minors.
"There are many reasons to remain hopeful, especially when we look at the progress accomplished in some of the world's most difficult places," the UN envoy said.
According to Child Soldiers International, 46 countries still recruit children into their armed forces.
The launch of the Act to Protect Children affected by Conflict came weeks after children were among over 130 people killed in an attack in central Mali.
Children were also killed in attacks in Afghanistan and Yemen.