|UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy (right) addresses attendees at the first regular session of the 2005 UNICEF Executive Board; UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Rima Salah is seated beside her.|
PARIS, France, 16 July 2008 – It was announced here today that former UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy and former Deputy Executive Director Rima Salah are to receive the award of Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, France’s highest decoration.
“We are very proud,” said the President of the French National Committee for UNICEF, Jacques Hintzy. “These awards recognize their tireless efforts within our organization. Carol and Rima are two powerful women who truly achieved progress for the world’s children.”
Ms. Bellamy headed UNICEF for a decade, from 1995 to 2005. As a leading advocate for children’s rights, she made a significant contribution in bringing the Convention on the Rights of the Child to the attention of the world community. Also during her tenure, the historic UN Special Session on Children was held in 2002, bringing hundreds of young people to UN headquarters to meet directly with Heads of State on key issues.
While at the helm of UNICEF, Ms. Bellamy led the organization towards progress in critical areas, such as child immunization, school enrolment, protection of children against violence and exploitation, early childhood education and the fight against HIV and AIDS.
‘Significance of children’s rights’
Ms. Salah became Deputy Executive Director under Ms. Bellamy after spending 20 years on major projects for children in Viet Nam and West Africa. Her efforts focused largely on issues involving child soldiers and violence against children. Her commitment in this area had a particular impact in the Arab world, where her advocacy became well respected.
The Légion d’honneur was created by Napoleon Bonaparte in May 1802 and first bestowed on July 15, 1804.
“The prestigious title of Chevalier of the Legion of Honour granted to these two enthusiastic and committed women also recognizes the significance of children’s rights and the quality of the work accomplished by UNICEF,” concluded Mr. Hintzy.