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UNICEF stands together with all the girls and adolescents of Latin America and the Caribbean, because they are a force for change

PANAMA CITY, SANTO DOMINGO, October 11, 2017 - What do we know about girls and adolescents in Latin America and the Caribbean? More than one million are victims of sexual violence and 1 in 4 have been married before the age of 18, and the region has the second highest adolescent pregnancy rate in the world. In addition, adolescents living in rural areas do not have sufficient access to information or menstruation supplies, and 25 percent of them do not even have access to education. A reality that is aggravated in emergency situations where girls and adolescents are the most vulnerable.

Today, on the International Day of the Girl, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) calls on governments, health and education sectors, justice systems, civil society, families and communities to promote the empowerment of girls and adolescents and to positively contribute to their integral development.

"Multiple inequities and deep discrimination perpetuate in our Latin America and the Caribbean where the inequality of girls, simply because they are girls, are denied their diversity and their life projects silenced," said María Cristina Perceval, UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean. "The International Day of the Girl is a moment that reminds us that girls cannot be treated as adults without rights, but as girls with rights and empowered – that they are a force for change," she added.

The figures of their realities:

  • 1 in 4 adolescents in Latin America living in rural areas and in poverty do not attend school and work in unpaid care work in their homes.
  • 1.1 million adolescent girls in the region experience sexual violence or other forced sexual acts.
  • 1 in 4 girls aged 13 to 15 years in the region report having seriously considered committing suicide.
  • 4 out of 10 girls experience partner violence during the course of their lives and 1 in 10 adolescent girls between 15 and 19 years of age justify partner violence.
  • More than a quarter of girls in 11 countries report that they "never" or "rarely" feel safe on the way to school.

In line with the Sustainable Development Goals and its Gender Action Plan, UNICEF prioritizes five rights to illuminate the path to girls’ empowerment; rights that are indivisible from other rights enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CDN), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), such as:

  • Gender-responsive adolescent health
  • End child marriage and early unions
  • Prevent, mitigate and address gender-based violence in emergencies
  • Close gaps in girls’ secondary education
  • Ensure access to information and supplies for menstrual hygiene

The voice of the girls through illustrations

The prestigious artist and illustrator Miguel Repiso 'REP' (Argentina, 1961) creatively collaborates in this campaign for the International Day of the Girl. The illustrator has created for UNICEF a series of illustrations starring Auxílio, one of his most iconic and recognized teenage characters, who advocates for girls’ empowerment in Latin America and the Caribbean.  These illustrations will be disseminated by all digital channels of the organization and included in diverse printed materials.

"Auxilio is a passionate teenager. She has always been an activist for the cause of girls and adolescents. She is rebellious and an activist.  Her aspect is neutral, but there is nothing neutral about her presence in the world.  She takes sides and does it for a cause that is the same that UNICEF defends", explained the author. "I think Auxilio is a good companion for the doubts and certainties that surround girls and adolescents in Latin America and the Caribbean. Auxilio is also an adolescent girl that can help us disseminate this message and promote empowerment", he added.

Miguel 'REP' is the author of 37 books, published daily on Page 12 of Argentina, El Tiempo de Colombia and in El Telégrafo de Ecuador; weekly in Revista Veintitrés. He has also collaborated for Spanish newspapers such as El País and La Vanguardia. Quino, the father of Mafalda, has defined REP as "the most original sketch artist that Argentina has produced in recent years."

Related audiovisual content available for use in the media and made especially for this opportunity: Video: "I am everything you see and more": https://youtu.be/KPMrCZcJOEg

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About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org, www.unicef.org/lac.

Note for editors
For interviews with María Cristina Perceval, UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, please contact Marisol Quintero, UNICEF Communication Specialist mquintero@unicef.org  Tel 507.65692718.
For more information or to arrange interviews with UNICEF specialists, please contact: Alfonso Fernández afernandezreca@unicef.org  Tel: +507 301-7373

 

 

 
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