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Global conference to end the recruitment of children by armed groups and forces in Paris

PARIS/NEW YORK/GENEVA, 5 February 2007– A global conference hosted by the Government of France and UNICEF convened in Paris today to address the issue of children in armed conflict.

Participants at the conference are from countries impacted by children in armed conflict as well as from donor countries. They will discuss a new set of commitments and principles to end recruitment of children and to demobilize and reintegrate those who have been involved with armed groups and forces.

“An estimated 250,000 children are involved in conflicts around the world,” said UNICEF Executive Director, Ann M. Veneman. “They are used as combatants, messengers, spies, porters, cooks, and girls in particular are forced to perform sexual services, depriving them of their rights and their childhood.”

Several UN resolutions and international legal standards have been agreed to over the last decade to address this issue, but many gaps remain. The Free Children from War conference will help identify opportunities to better support children impacted by armed conflict.

“We have a shared commitment to help children caught in the wars of adults and to protect, release and reintegrate child soldiers,” said Veneman. “We have made strides in bringing children from battlefields back to their communities and classrooms, but much remains to be done.”

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About UNICEF
UNICEF is on the ground in 156 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.


For more information, please contact:

Geoffrey Keele, UNICEF Media, New York, 1-212-326-7583, gkeele@unicef.org


 

 

 

Video

5 February 2007:
UNICEF correspondent Dan Thomas reports on the first day of the ‘Free Children from War’ conference in Paris.
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5 February 2007:
UNICEF correspondent Sarah Crowe reports from Liberia on the reintegration of children associated with armed conflict. Filmed by Peter Rudden.
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