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UNICEF expresses its concern about children and adolescents in violent confrontations in Bolivia and calls for the defence of their rights

La Paz – Bolivia, September 13, 2008 - UNICEF in Bolivia has expressed its concern over the use and presence of girls, boys and adolescents in several confrontations and violent disturbances that have occurred over the last few days.

Bolivia is a signatory country to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which defines a child as “any human being under the age of 18 years old.” The main objective of this convention is to ensure that the rights of children are protected in every circumstance, and places responsibility on the State, institutions, communities, families, the media and society in general to ensure that these rights are respected.

The Child and Adolescent Code, the country’s current legislation in this respect, is consistent with the universal vision of defending the higher interests of children. However, the use and presence of children and adolescents – and the taking advantage of their energy and vitality – in protests, marches and violent confrontations violates their rights and places them in vulnerable situations, affecting their physical integrity and impacting on their psycho-affective development.

Past experiences have shown that confrontations can jeopardise the fulfilment of their rights in the areas of health, education, nutrition, safety, and protection, and can even result in them becoming orphans.

Further, when children take active part in, are witness to or victims of adults’ inability to resolve conflicts peacefully and through dialogue, this creates patterns of intolerance, discrimination and violence, which are likely to be repeated in the future, thus perpetuating a negative model of conflict resolution within their family and social lives.

UNICEF is calling upon the Bolivian people and their institutions to defend and protect the rights of children and adolescents to prevent them from taking part in violent confrontations which put their lives at risk and deprive them of conditions needed to grow up healthy and fully develop their future.

UNICEF welcomes and congratulates all initiatives that help to lead to an immediate end of disturbances and confrontations, whose impact is very negative on vulnerable populations, especially children.

Therefore, UNICEF appeals to the urgent need to establish a peace corridor in order to provide humanitarian assistance to those people most in need. UNICEF fully supports the recent message of the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, who urges all people involved to act with restraint and to prevent any further confrontation.

For further information
Gridvia Kuncar, gkuncar@unicef.org, UNICEF Bolivia
Delina Garson, dgarson@unicef.org, UNICEF Bolivia


Acerca de UNICEF
UNICEF trabaja sobre el terreno en más de 150 países y territorios para ayudar a garantizar a los niños y las niñas  el derecho a sobrevivir y a desarrollarse desde la primera infancia hasta la adolescencia. UNICEF es el mayor proveedor de vacunas para los países en desarrollo, trabaja para mejorar la salud y la nutrición de la infancia; el abastecimiento de agua y saneamiento de calidad; la educación básica de calidad para todos los niños y niñas y la protección de los niños y las niñas contra la violencia, la explotación y el VIH/SIDA. UNICEF está financiado en su totalidad por las contribuciones voluntarias de individuos, empresas, fundaciones y gobiernos.


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