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UNICEF calls for end to violence against children in Thailand’s deep South

BANGKOK, 12 December 2012 – A UNICEF official today urged an immediate halt to violence against children in Thailand’s restive southern provinces, where an 11-month-old girl was among five people killed in an attack on a Narathiwat tea house on Tuesday.

Bijaya Rajbhandari, the UNICEF Representative in Thailand, said the slayings were “a tragic, senseless and unacceptable act” and called upon all parties involved “to use every means at their disposal to end the violence and ensure that all children are protected from it.”

The girl, Infani Samo, was killed early on Tuesday morning when gunmen armed with automatic weapons sprayed gunfire into a tea house in Narathiwat’s Rangae district. More than 50 children have been killed and 340 injured in Thailand’s southern border provinces since a resurgence of violence in January 2004. In total, more than 5,000 people have lost their lives in the violence.

In late October this year, an 11-year-old boy was slain along with his father when gunmen fired on their pickup truck in Yala’s Raman district.

“Every time a child is killed or injured, every time a child loses a parent or relative, and every time their schools and teachers are attacked, the more all children in the deep South suffer,” Rajbhandari said. “Bringing an end to the violence is the only way to ensure that the rights of all children in the south are fully protected and respected.”

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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