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UNICEF calls for enhanced global commitment to support countries in crisis

Humanitarian Action Report launched in the Arab World

DUBAI, 5 April 2005 – Speaking from the the Dubai International Convention Centre, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Rima Salah today launched the Humanitarian Action Report 2005 and called on the donor community, Arab funds and humanitarian agencies to exert improved effort in leveraging the region’s capacity to respond to persisting emergencies around the globe.

In the framework of the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid & Re-development Conference & Exhibition, UNICEF stressed the need to revitalise the focus on technical assistance and the prioritisation of humanitarian aid to countries still ravaged by armed confrontation, political and socioeconomic instability, natural disasters and HIV/AIDS.

The UNICEF Humanitarian Action Report 2005 presents an overview of crisis countries where children continue to face severe deprivations of their rights to survival, health and nutrition; education and protection from harm; exploitation and discrimination. It also lays emphasis on funding appeals and plans of action in the area of humanitarian response in the year ahead.

“Hundreds of millions of children worldwide are born with their basic rights already denied as the threats of poverty, armed conflict and HIV/AIDS replicate from one generation to the next”, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director said. “Moreover, we are at risk of seeing last decade’s achievements in the child development area decline as we have failed to recommit to our moral and legal responsibility to safeguard future generations from harm and abuse”, she added.

With an eye on enduring conflict and emergency situations in the Arab world, the UNICEF report reviews the effect of humanitarian action taken in post-war Iraq, Darfur, Sudan and the occupied Palestinian territory. Additional reference is given to countries vulnerable to natural disasters, such as Iran Algeria, Sudan and Djibouti, where recent floods and earthquakes have left thousands of people displaced and homeless.

UNICEF called for reinvigorated contributions to conflict ridden Darfur, where an estimated 1.3 million are children and around 550,000 children under five are particularly vulnerable to the effects of violence, abuse, hunger, disease and exploitation. Today, more than 1 million people in the Darfur area continue to lack safe water, 70% of children are out of school, and women and children are exposed to ongoing violence.

“With acute malnutrition rates on a steep rise in Iraq; children affected by continued conflict in Congo, Palestine and Colombia; millions of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS in subsaharan Africa and Darfur representing an enormous challenge in terms of improved humanitarian response in the immediate future, we can only expect that donors and governments will invest additional funds in children and make all possible resources available to ensure that development assistance is sustained. All that we require is the willingness from various sectors to get involved and stay engaged”, Salah pointed.

UNICEF highlighted Dubai’s distinctive model in becoming a major humanitarian hub in the Middle East, with proven success in the relief support provided to the January 2005 multi-country Tsunami crisis. “Here’s the evidence that resources, knowledge, strategies and people are available in abundance. We admire Dubai for bringing this exceptional initiative forward”, UNICEF Deputy Executive director concluded.

For further information, please contact

Anis Salem, asalem@unicef.org, Mobile: +96279-557-9991

Wolfgang Friedl, wfriedl@unicef.org, Tel: 9626-5502-422, Mob: +96279 5732745


 

 

 

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