In presenting Mia Farrow with the medal – at the level of an Officer of State – the President announced it was in recognition of her services to the cause of children and women.
“You have come from so far away to be with us in this difficult moment for our country,” he said. “You have already been to some of areas most affected by conflict, and today you leave again for the north of our country. I am touched by your courage and determination. In doing this, you are bringing hope and comfort to all the people you meet there.”
In her response, Farrow accepted the honour on behalf of all Central Africans “now suffering and in need of support and help from the whole world.”
“I came to CAR to bring its people a message of peace and hope”, she said. “Together with UNICEF I am with you in this difficult moment.”
In thanking the President and the Prime Minister, Hon Elie Dote, after the award ceremony, Ms. Farrow said, “I will wear this medal close to my heart, as a constant reminder to me of the beauty of this country and the courage of its people.”
Mia Farrow is in CAR from 10-16 February, visiting UNICEF-assisted projects in Bangui, the capital, and on mission to the remote northern areas, where there is a deepening humanitarian crisis as a result of civil strife. Her mission is designed to bring attention to the country’s plight and the need for urgent international support, as well as calling for stabilizing the current situation of widespread and deteriorating insecurity. She will continue into Chad.
Some one million people are affected by the conflict with massive displacement, entire villages having been ransacked and burned by rebels and armed militias. CAR is the sixth least developed country in the world, with indicators for maternal and child mortality already very poor, and now on a continuing downward decline.
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 further information, please contact:
Julia Spry-Leverton, UNICEF CAR: Tel + 236 041409
Rafael Hermoso, UNICEF Media, New York: Tel + (1) 212 326 7516, email; email@example.com