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UNICEF condemns use of a minor in Taliban execution

NEW YORK/GENEVA, 23 April 2007 - UNICEF today condemned the use of a minor in a Taliban execution as a criminal act.  A video circulating in Pakistan shows a young boy beheading an adult. The act was a terrible example of how children can be used by adults to commit heinous crimes in times of conflict.

UNICEF deplores the use of children in conflict in any capacity, by any party.  Specifically, the use of children under 15 years of age - as is apparent in this case - is a war crime under international law. 

It is not uncommon to see children forced to commit atrocities against their neighbors and even their own families. These acts cut off all ties between these children and their original communities and strengthens their dependency on the armed group that has recruited them.

Children are often forced to witness or participate in extreme violence which can have a long-term impact on their emotional well-being if they do not receive appropriate support. UNICEF works with former child soldiers to reintegrate them into communities and supports programmes to address their psychological and emotional distress.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 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.

For  further information, please contact:
Patrick McCormick, UNICEF Media New York, 1 212 326 - 7426, pmccormick@unicef.org




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