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January 1999 - June 1999

Nobel laureate to highlight mine-awareness in Kosovo
Monday, 28 June 1999: Nobel Peace Prize winner Jody Williams and Canada's Ambassador for Mine Action, Jill E. Sinclair, will visit Kosovo 30 June - 1 July to highlight UNICEF's mine-awareness activities there and appeal for an intensification of demining in the war-torn province.

UNICEF pledges to school all Kosovo children
Thursday, 24 June 1999: UNICEF today pledged to give every primary school age child in Kosovo the opportunity to be back in school by the start of the academic year in September, despite huge challenges posed in the wake of widespread carnage and destruction of the province's infrastructure.

Debt denies children's and women's rights
Wednesday, 16 June 1999: UNICEF said today that perpetuating the debt crisis denies the social and economic rights of hundreds of millions of impoverished children and women, and it urged G8 nations meeting in Cologne, Germany, from 18-20 June to take real steps to break the debt bondage of the world's poorest countries.

UNICEF begins relief operation in Kosovo
Monday, 14 June 1999: UNICEF today began distributing essential medical supplies, high protein biscuits and baby hygiene materials to several thousand internally displaced persons located around Pristina. UNICEF's priority in the initial stages of the return to Kosovo will be to provide immediate life-saving assistance to some 5,000 infants, 50,000 children and 10,000 women.

Haiti faces major education challenge
Thursday, 20 May 1999: Less than half of all Haitians can read and write. Over half of the nation's children fail to reach the fifth grade. And only one in five young people reach secondary school. These figures reflect an educational crisis found throughout the developing world, a situation which leaves one billion people illiterate, with girls outnumbering boys two to one among of those who receive no education at all, UNICEF says.

Children should lead world peace campaign
Wednesday, 12 May 1999: Children and young people should be given a primary place in future efforts toward world peace, UNICEF said today at the Hague Appeal for Peace Conference. UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy said the international community had utterly failed to live up to the vision of a just and peaceful world, and added that a broad acceptance of children's role in peacemaking could help generate new ideas for breaking patterns of violence and discrimination.

Children need protection in armed conflict, UNICEF says
Friday, 30 April 1999: Armed conflicts around the world are taking an increasingly horrific toll on the rights of children, UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy said in Bogota today. "In Angola, in Kosovo, in Colombia, and in many other places, we are witness to the criminal violation of child rights, including forced displacement, abduction, sexual abuse, conscription into military service and the use of children as spies and human shields," Ms.Bellamy said.

Immunization of refugee children starts in Macedonia
Monday, 26 April 1999: The first round of immunization for Kosovar children in refugee camps in Macedonia begins today, in an effort to prevent the spread of major childhood diseases. More than 8,900 children under five years of age in the camps will be vaccinated against polio, measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus. Newborn infants will be vaccinated against tuberculosis.

Crises elsewhere eclipsed by Kosovo, UNICEF says
Thursday, 22 April 1999: The expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Kosovars from their homes and the violence that many have endured in recent weeks is an unspeakable tragedy that deserves the world's attention, UNICEF said today, but it should not eclipse the plight of more than 22 million other people worldwide who have been displaced by wars and civil conflicts.

UN Wire covers human development issues
Thursday, 22 April 1999: UN Wire, a daily news summary on the United Nations, global affairs and key international issues, is now available on the Web. Sponsored by the United Nations Foundation, it covers a wide range of issues, including: women, children and population, health, the environment and sustainable development, humanitarian aid, and peacekeeping and security. It offers links to full-text, audio, video and additional Internet sources of information.

Teachers' site to foster child-friendly learning
Tuesday, 20 April 1999: The UNICEF Web today launches a site to help teachers foster child-friendly learning environments. Teachers Talking About Learning allows teachers to explore ideas, obtain information, discuss and take action through interactive pages and online projects. Teachers can reflect on their teaching goals, find special interest groups and decide what they want to achieve with their students.

Kosovo refugees face trauma and stress
Tuesday, 13 April 1999: UNICEF said today that addressing the acute distress and trauma faced by hundreds of thousands of children who have been driven from their homes in Kosovo is one of the main challenges facing relief workers. "Beyond the initial, overwhelming physical needs faced by these children is the devastating, lasting psychological shock of what they've experienced," said UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy, just back from visiting refugees in Albania.

UNICEF helps Kosovar children
Wednesday, 31 March 1999: UNICEF said today that children are suffering enormously as refugees are fleeing Kosovo and warned that Albania, Montenegro and Macedonia, among the poorest countries in Europe, only have a limited capacity to host the refugees. Tomorrow 1 April, UNICEF will be air-lifting emergency health kits, blankets, oral rehydration salts, water purification kits and other emergency relief items into the Albanian capital Tirana, to assist the thousands of refugees.

Glimmer of hope in Sierra Leone
Thursday, 18 march 1999: Despite Sierra Leone's recent history of brutality against children, and the existence of daunting obstacles to the delivery of humanitarian assistance, UNICEF said today that a window of opportunity might finally be opening for the war-torn nation in western Africa, citing the apparently growing flow of children who have been released to the children's agency by rebel forces in recent days.

UK joins Vitamin A initiative
Tuesday, 16 March 1999: UNICEF today welcomed the United Kingdom to the Global Vitamin A Partnership, which includes WHO, donor governments and private groups. The initiative aims to provide urgently needed vitamin A supplementation to 100 million children around the world, either by fortifying foods with the vitamin or providing cheap and efficient vitamin A capsules. Such supplements can increase children's chances of survival by 23 per cent.

A new tool for teaching about HIV/AIDS
Thursday, 11 March 1999: The UNICEF Voices of Youth is offering an HIV/AIDS Quiz as a trilingual Internet resource for teaching about HIV/AIDS prevention and human rights worldwide. Activists and health care workers can use this quiz to encourage exploration of the issues, feelings and facts about HIV/AIDS and what youth can do to combat this epidemic.

HIV/AIDS increasingly claims girls and women
Monday, 8 March 1999: Girls and women are becoming the principal victims of the rampant HIV/AIDS pandemic in the developing world, UNICEF said on International Women's Day. Women or girls now account for 43 per cent of the estimated 33 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS. In Zambia three times as many girls are infected as boys.

Call for greater effort as landmine treaty becomes binding
Monday, 1 March 1999: Although the treaty to ban anti-personnel landmines becomes binding on its ratifiers today, UNICEF said that a widely-expanded effort is needed to help the convention bear fruit. The children's agency called for universal ratification of the treaty and an international commitment to see that every child in a mined area knows proper safety procedures.

In Bangladesh, arsenic mitigation gets boost
Monday, 1 March 1999: UNICEF has announced US$500,000 in additional funding for arsenic mitigation in Bangladesh. Ever since arsenic was discovered in Bangladesh's tubewell water, the imperative has been to save children and all others from the serious health risks of drinking water contaminated by this a natural but toxic substance found in some rock formations.

UNICEF hails Guatemala truth commission report
Friday, 26 February 1999: UNICEF today praised the publication of the Guatemala Truth Commission Report as a groundbreaking document that throws a spotlight on the horrific violations inflicted on Guatemalan children during the 36-year-long armed conflict, and draws lessons to ensure that such violence will never happen again.

Adolescents hold 'key to 21st century'
Thursday, 25 February 1999: There are more than a billion adolescents worldwide, and how effectively they cope with the perils of growing up will be a crucial element in whether humanity can surmount the challenges of the next century, UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy said in remarks prepared for delivery tonight. She also highlighted the tremendous potential of adolescents to participate in society and be a positive force for change, pointing to experiences from Colombia, Rwanda and South Africa.

G7 asked to end 'free-fall' in aid
Friday, 19 February 1999: At a time when even modest increases in aid to the world's poorest countries could save the lives of millions of children and women, assistance to these nations is in a state of virtual free-fall, UNICEF said today. The childen’s agency spoke on the eve of this weekend’s meeting of G7 Finance Ministers in Bonn, and said the gathering presented an excellent opportunity to reverse a grim decline since 1990 in international aid to the poorest countries.

UNICEF responds to Colombia quake
Wednesday, 27 January 1999: UNICEF today dispatched an emergency team to three districts in Colombia in the wake of the most disastrous earthquake in the country's modern history. UNICEF said its priority is to bring immediate assistance to an estimated 10,000 children who have been victimized by the catastrophe.

Young children most vulnerable in Eastern European schools
Friday, 22 January 1999: As economic and social crises engulf many of the 27 countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics known as the Commonwealth of Independent States, support for public education is dwindling and young children and teachers are the main victims, UNICEF said today. Across the region, more than 32,000 pre-schools have closed, 23,000 in Russia alone, and the number of children attending kindergartens has fallen from 61 to 44 per cent.

UNICEF urgently seeks $136 million for emergencies
Tuesday, 19 January 1999: UNICEF today urgently appealed to donors for $136 million in emergency assistance for an estimated 48 million children and women who are victims of war, natural disasters, extreme poverty and other forms of violence and exploitation. It said seldom in history has such a large number of people been in such danger. Only four years ago, UNICEF was working in some 15 countries gripped by civil conflict. Today that number has risen to more than 55 nations where situations exist that profoundly threaten the lives and welfare of children and women. (See Humanitarian Response to Children 1999.)

Senegal bans female genital mutilation
Thursday, 14 January 1999: UNICEF applauded the Parliament of Senegal for its approval late yesterday of legislation to ban female genital mutilation, a painful, traumatic and dangerous procedure which partially or totally removes female genitalia. "Senegal's action is of great significance," UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy said, "because it reflects the resolve of African women to end a cruel and unacceptable practice which violates the right of all girls to free, safe and healthy lives."


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