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Press release

UNICEF calls Pope John Paul "great friend of children"

MANILA / NEW YORK, 2 April 2005  --  UNICEF said the world's children lost one of their greatest friends today as the organization mourned the passing of Pope John Paul II.

Speaking from Manila, UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy said the Pope "was a great friend of children everywhere, whose compassion and caring for them will be deeply missed." 

"The Pope made the dignity and care of children one of his most constant themes," Bellamy said, noting that he spoke frequently against the exploitation of children and pushed world leaders to fulfill their commitments to child survival, health and general well-being.

"He understood the special light that glows in children," Bellamy added, "and he cherished it and drew strength from it.  He was a special voice for children."  She noted that the Pope engaged with young people around the world, often inspiring them in faith and action.

UNICEF offered its sympathy and best wishes to Catholics around the world, noting that Catholic institutions and congregations on every continent are close partners with UNICEF in fighting for children's rights.

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For further information:

Kate Donovan, UNICEF Media, New York, 212 326 7452




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