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Statement by UNICEF Representative in Yemen Geert Cappelaere about school siege in the north

2010-05-11

Sanaa, 12 May 2010 – “UNICEF is deeply concerned about reports that schools
in the northern governorate of Saada were occupied by armed men, and that children are denied their right to education.

“Schools should be zones of peace where children can learn and thrive.
Using them for military or inappropriate political purposes is a violation of
children’s rights and of international humanitarian law. Children must be
allowed to resume their schooling immediately.

“Yemen has some of the lowest school enrolment rates in the Middle East and
North Africa region, with more than a quarter of children and particularly
girls of primary-school age not receiving an education.

“The conflict in the north has exacerbated this situation, forcing
thousands of children to flee their homes and reducing hundreds of schools
to rubble. The 11 February ceasefire brought hope, allowing children to go
back to school in the aftermath of conflicts and helping them recover a
sense of normalcy.

UNICEF calls upon all parties throughout the country to ensure the right to
quality education for every child. "Depriving children from this right is
detrimental to their well-being and to their country’s future."

For further information:

Stefanie Carmichael, Communications Specialist, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8866; Cell: (647) 500-4230, scarmichael@unicef.ca.
Tiffany Baggetta, Director, Communications and Brand, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8892; Cell: (647) 308-4806, tbaggetta@unicef.ca.

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