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Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake on reported rapes, child recruitment in northern Mali

NEW YORK, 1 May 2012 – “Yesterday Human Rights Watch issued a compelling report that details testimony about abductions and rapes of girls and women by armed groups in northern Mali and the recruitment and use of children by armed groups.

“Such actions are grave violations of international humanitarian law and can constitute war crimes.

“The report reinforces the need for more attention to be paid to the situation in Mali and the Sahel region. And there must be an immediate end to these outrageous acts.”


UNICEF works in 190 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 about UNICEF and its work visit:

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For further information, please contact:

Sarah Crowe, spokesperson for the Executive Director, UNICEF New York, Mobile: + 1 646 209 1590,

Peter Smerdon, UNICEF New York, Mobile: +1 917 213 5188, Tel: + 1 212 303 7984,

Rita Ann Wallace, UNICEF Bamako, Mobile + 22 376 944 743,




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