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Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman on the situation of children in Sri Lanka

NEW YORK, 12 May 2009 - “Thousands of children remain trapped by the ongoing conflict in Sri Lanka, putting their lives at serious risk. It is unacceptable that children continue to be the innocent victims of this ongoing conflict.

“Children caught in the crossfire lack adequate access to medicine, water and food. Safe humanitarian access to these children is critical to their well-being.

“Civilians should be allowed to move away from the conflict zone to safe areas and maximum restraint should be exercised by both parties, including halting the use of heavy weapons in densely populated areas.  

“UNICEF joins the United Nations Secretary-General in calling on both sides to adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian law.”

About the UNICEF Executive Director
Ann M. Veneman assumed the leadership of UNICEF on 1 May 2005, becoming the fifth Executive Director to lead UNICEF in its 60-year history. Prior to joining UNICEF, Veneman served as Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture.
At UNICEF, Veneman directs a global agency of over 10,000 staff and annual total resources of more than $3 billion, funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of governments, businesses, foundations and individuals. Since assuming the position of Executive Director, she has traveled around the world, witnessing firsthand the work of UNICEF, speaking at meetings and conferences, and visiting heads of state or government and other partners.

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




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