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Soccer players Messi, Agüero and Tevez sign Commitment in favour of children and against discrimination

Copa America 2011

Buenos Aires, 24 June 2011 - UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Lionel Messi, Sergio Agüero and Carlos Tevez signed the Commitment in favour of children and against discrimination: a United Nations Children’s Fund initiative to collect thousands of signatures throughout Latin America in support of children’s right to protection against all forms of discrimination.

UNICEF Ambassador for Argentina Julián Weich and TV presenter Ernestina País invited players from the national squad to kick off the UNICEF public campaign just days before the start of Copa America 2011. UNICEF is the official Beneficiary Organisation of the tournament and this campaign will run throughout the competition, celebrating diversity and raising public awareness of the impact of discrimination on the lives, growth, development and opportunities of thousands of children and adolescents. Under the slogan “with your signature kids win” everyone in Latin America is invited to join the initiative by adding a digital signature to the list at: www.facebook.com/UNICEFARGENTINA

“Many children face discrimination both in this country and throughout the world. Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever felt the sharp edge of discrimination?” Julian Weich asked the footballers. And all three of them had: Messi and Kun Agüero felt excluded when they wanted to play in their first clubs and Tevez said many people looked down on his background even today.

Daiana and Walter, two secondary students from High School 66 in Lanús, attended the event alongside the players, swapping experiences with them.

“Discrimination is negative and unnatural: we must rebel against it through actions like this Commitment,” stated Ernestina País. This campaign will run all around the world, in an initiative that works to protect children from ethnic, religious or gender segregation, an issue that impacts on sport and every other field, she added.

The Commitment in favour of children and against discrimination also campaigns against situations of violence that block access to schooling for children and the lack of access to health services due to country of birth, membership of an indigenous community, being African-American, living in poverty, disability or any other such circumstance.

The Argentina national squad for the Copa America, sports journalists, celebrities and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and basketball player Manu Ginobilli will also be signing up to the Commitment. 

During the launch, Messi, Tevez and Agüero added their personal touches to a work of art to be auctioned for UNICEF in an Impact Art event. This initiative blends sport, art and solidarity together in the creation of works of art. Many leading Argentinean sports personalities have already done their bit to create “paintings” making use of their sporting abilities. The paintings will be auctioned at a charity dinner for UNICEF at the Intercontinental Hotel on Tuesday 28th of June. 

For more information:
María José Ravalli mjravalli@unicef.org, UNICEF Argentina
Natalia L. Calisti
ncalisti@unicef.org, UNICEF Argentina
Tamar Hahn, thahn@unicef.org, UNICEF Latin America and the Caribbean

UNICEF is on the ground in over 155 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.



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