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Press Release

CRISIS DRAWS BELLAMY TO AFGHANISTAN

Two-Week Trip Will Begin and End With Visits To European Capitals

GENEVA / NEW YORK, 23 November 2001 - Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of the United Nations Children's Fund, begins an extended trip to Europe and Asia this weekend, highlighted by five days in Afghanistan and Pakistan where she will visit Quetta, Kabul and other towns to personally survey the difficult conditions facing millions of children in a region stricken by drought, displacement, disease and conflict.

Bellamy's trip will have a heavy Afghanistan emphasis, but will also include other elements, including a stop in Oslo upon her return from Afghanistan to join the United Nations family and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in accepting the Nobel Peace Prize.

Ms. Bellamy's trip will encompass stops and activities in:

  • London, Tuesday 27 November
    Beginning at 10:30 AM, she will lead the London launch of the UN Consolidated Appeal for Countries in Crisis, the UN's annual funding request for countries such as Afghanistan where natural calamity and human conflict put millions of people in peril. She will be joined by leaders from the UK government, donor organizations and partner humanitarian agencies.
  • Dublin, Wednesday 28 November
    Ms. Bellamy will visit with key government ministers to discuss the UN appeal, the Afghanistan crisis, and other pressing children's issues.
  • Geneva, Thursday 29 November
    Bellamy will launch UNICEF's annual study of children and youth in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States, and the Baltics. The report - The Monee Report - provides the first comprehensive look at how a decade of social and political transition has impacted young people. Journalists may review embargoed copies by visiting the Press Centre of the Innocenti Research Centre web site at: http://www.unicef-icdc.org
  • Pakistan-Afghanistan, Friday 30 November - Tuesday 4 December
    Seeking to focus global attention on the central role of children in both the immediate relief efforts and the long-term recovery of Afghanistan, Ms. Bellamy will visit several locations reflecting different aspects of the crisis. Stops will likely include Quetta (where UNICEF's office was burned down), Peshawar, (where UNICEF supports Afghan refugees), Kabul (and potentially other towns in Afghanistan) and Islamabad (where Ms. Bellamy will brief the press and hold meetings). The itinerary will be finalized closer to her arrival.
  • Oslo, Thursday 6 December - Monday 10 December
    Ms. Bellamy will join other UN leaders in events surrounding the awarding on the Nobel Peace Prize.

"With winter arriving in Afghanistan at the same time as a new set of political circumstances come into view, this is a crucial time," Bellamy said. "As we plan for the reconstruction of this country's education system, health care network, and other basic services for children, we cannot forget the immediate needs that must be met over the next difficult months."

Bellamy said her trip to the Afghan region would emphasize the critical role children will play in the healthy future development of Afghanistan. And she said she wants to personally visit with UNICEF's staff in the region and thank them for their incredible resourcefulness and commitment in the face of the crisis - including the devoted Afghan nationals who kept humanitarian relief rolling throughout Afghanistan in the difficult weeks since September 11.

"We are newly aware of the challenges we face as a global community," Bellamy added. "Now that we are focused on the children of Afghanistan, let's renew our commitment to helping children everywhere grow to adulthood in health, peace and dignity. I can't think of a more worthwhile or effective way to change the world than through the children to whom we will bequeath our societies."

* * *

Ms. Bellamy will be available for media interviews throughout her trip,
including in Europe and Asia, schedule permitting.

She will also conduct formal press briefings in London, Geneva and Islamabad.
Upon her return from Afghanistan, Ms. Bellamy will be available for interviews on December 7 & 8. Details will be available closer to those dates.

For further information, please contact:

Liza Barrie, UNICEF Media, New York (212) 326-7593
Marc Vergara, UNICEF Media, Geneva (4122) 909-5513
Chulho Hyun, UNICEF Media, Islamabad (92-300) 855-1927
Sarah Vincent, UK Committee for UNICEF, London (44-207-4055592)

Information on UNICEF's relief efforts in the Afghan region can be found at
http://www.unicef.org/noteworthy/afghanistan