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UNICEF’s leading role in child protection recognized by Dr. Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award

NEW YORK, 27 February 2012 – UNICEF’s work to protect children from violence, exploitation and abuse was honoured at Tufts University’s Education for Public Inquiry and International Citizenship Symposium.  Dr. Susan Bissell, UNICEF’s Chief of Child Protection accepted the award on behalf of UNICEF.

“I am grateful for your recognition of UNICEF’s work in child protection’, said Dr. Bissell. “I do so on behalf of UNICEF, especially on behalf of my colleagues around the world working in a sector which is only a couple of decades old and is complex and extremely challenging.’

The award is part of a symposium held 22-26 February at Tufts University where Dr. Bissell spoke on the concluding panel discussing Post-Conflict Challenges and Building Peaceful Societies.

UNICEF estimates that more than a billion children under the age of 18 live in countries and territories affected by conflict.

Dr. Bissell spoke about the importance of including children and youth when developing programmes in post-conflict situations and considered ways to strengthen transitional mechanisms of justice and accountability.

“It is important to consider how do we strengthen child protection systems overall at the same time addressing underlying issues that perpetuate marginalization, exclusion, and inequity,” she said.

Despite the fact that children continue to suffer, there is encouraging news in recent efforts to protect children from the impact of war and to ensure children are treated with justice.

Ideally, the participation of children in community activities should strengthen their protection, and protection should enable their participation. Effective participation and protection can help break the cycle of violence and prevent future conflict and instability.
The international community has made significant steps in recognizing children shoulder the impact of war in disturbing ways.  The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict is in force in 129 countries. In addition, the Security Council is implementing a monitoring and reporting mechanism on child rights violations during armed conflict which is currently being piloted in 14 countries by UNICEF and partners. 

The Dr. Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award was established by the Institute for Global Leadership in 1993 to honour the work and life of Dr. Jean Mayer, President and Chancellor of Tufts University from 1976 to 1993, and it is given annually to individuals who have dedicated themselves to solving the most pressing problems facing the world.

Past recipients have included Amartya Sen, Paul Farmer, and Desmond Tutu.

UNICEF works in 190 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 more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org

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For more information, please contact:
Rebecca Fordham, UNICEF NY,
Tel +1 212 326 7162,




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