Ahead of historic elections, UNICEF highlights the situation of children in the Democratic Republic Of CongoLONDON, 13 July 2006 -
WHAT: Launch of UNICEF’s Child Alert, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – Written by UNICEF UK Ambassador and former BBC War Correspondent, Martin Bell, the report documents the current situation of children affected by conflict in the run up to Congo’s first democratic elections in 40 years.
Monday, 24th July 2006
Arrival at 10:15am
Press briefing at 10:30am to 11:30am
School of Oriental and African Studies - Brunei Gallery, Room BG05
10 Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Nearest Tube: Russell Square
Martin Bell, UNICEF UK Ambassador for Humanitarian Emergencies
Mr. Bell traveled to the DRC this year, where he witnessed first hand the world’s deadliest humanitarian crisis, responsible for the deaths of nearly four million people since 1998.
Anthony Bloomberg, UNICEF Representative, DRC
Since March 2005, Mr Bloomberg has been leading one of the largest and most complex of UNICEF’s country programmes.
WHY: On July 30th 2006, for the first time in 40 years, the Congolese people will be granted a real choice at the polls and therefore a genuine chance at ending a conflict which has exacerbated a death toll equivalent to that of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, every six months.
An estimated, 1,200 people die each day in the DRC, half are children. Children bear the brunt of conflict, disease and death, not only as victims but as witnesses to and at times forced participants in crimes that can inflict lifelong physical and psychological harm.
In the lead up to the formation of a legitimate government, UNICEF is urging the international community to put pressure on Congo’s political factions. Improving the lives of children must be at the top of the country’s post-election agenda.
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For further information and interview requests, please contact:
Shima Islam, UNICEF UK Press Office, Tel. +44 20 7312 7614 or +44 20 7430 0162, email@example.com