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Statement by Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director, on extreme violence against children in conflicts

2015-07-27

NEW YORK, 24 July 2015 – “Millions of children around the world today are caught up in adults’ wars – deliberately killed, injured, raped, abducted. Their schools and homes are being destroyed; they are being denied food, water and health care. Tens of thousands are forced to join armed forces and groups.

“Ten years ago the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1612, to better protect children affected by conflict. Today, enormous efforts are being made to protect children in countries at war. Last year, more than 10,000 children were released from armed forces and groups worldwide, and received support returning to their communities.

“But violence involving children in conflicts has taken a darker turn.

“Reports from Iraq, Nigeria and Syria have shown us how children are being used by adults as perpetrators of extreme violence - children who have been forced to observe and participate in executions, encouraged to believe that violence is normal, their young and impressionable minds exposed to senseless brutality, in total disregard of the sanctity of childhood.

“Every child in a conflict who is killed or forced to kill, or who has witnessed the brutality of war, is a victim. An innocent who has borne the cost of conflict not of her or his making.  

“We should be outraged that such suffering continues and that more is not being done to end these horrors and to hold those responsible to account.”

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About UNICEF
UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.

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.