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UNICEF expresses deep concern at reports of child casualties in attacks on North Darfur villages

KHARTOUM, 6 May 2008 - UNICEF is deeply concerned at reports that a number of children have been killed during attacks on two villages of North Darfur, in the west of Sudan, and calls on the Government forces and the other parties to the ongoing conflict to take every necessary action to prevent future deaths or injuries amongst children.

According to information received by the UN, several children were reported as killed on Sunday as they were leaving their school at the time of the attack.

UNICEF reminds all parties to the conflict in Darfur that under international conventions, children are to be afforded special protection during military operations and urges that every effort must be made to ensure that schools, health centers and other such humanitarian facilities are considered as zones of peace.

The conflict in Darfur has taken a high toll upon children. UNICEF estimates that half of the conflict-affected population in Darfur are children – including at least one million who have been displaced by fighting.

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:

Edward Carwardine, Chief, Media and External Relations, Tel +249 183 471 837 (Ext 604], Email; ecarwardine@unicef.org

Patrick McCormick, UNICEF New York, Tel +1 212 326 7426, Email, pmccormick@unicef.org




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