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UN calls for unconditional release of 90 LRA - abducted children in the DRC

Statement - 1 October 2008

NEW YORK, 1 October 2008 - Two weeks ago, the Lord’s Resistance Army attacked a number of villages in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and abducted 90 children from their schools.

The SRSG and UNICEF call for the immediate and unconditional release of all of the abducted children, who were taken during simultaneous attacks on the Kiliwa, Duru, and Nambia villages in Orientale Province on 17 September 2008.

There are documented cases where children kidnapped by groups in this region have been forced to fight as child soldiers, and where young girls have been raped and used as sex slaves.

The attacks have caused much of the population of these areas to flee and humanitarian workers to respond to a new wave of displacements. During the LRA attacks, health centers were looted and houses burnt.  In Kiliwa, the entire village except for the health center was burnt to the ground.

The SRSG and UNICEF are gravely concerned at this latest attack by the LRA and remind all parties to the conflict in eastern DRC that the abduction and use of children in armed groups is a war crime and crime against humanity.

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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:

Ms. Laurence Gérard, Communications Officer, Office of the SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict. Phone: +1 917-657-5622- gerardl@un.org

Mr. Luca Solimeo, Associate Communication Officer - Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict, - +1917-367-3563, solimeo@un.org

Geoffrey Keele, UNICEF NY, 212-326-7583, gkeele@unicef.org




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