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South Africa

Nelson Mandela and Executive Director Ann M. Veneman unite for children

© UNICEF/2007/ Pandian
Nelson Mandela and UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman.

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, 5 October 2007 – UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman met with Nelson Mandela today to discuss the importance of partnerships to address children's issues, particularly HIV and AIDS.

Meeting at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg, South Africa, Ms. Veneman and the former South African President talked about how partnerships can help make a real difference to improve children’s lives.

UNICEF works with a multitude of partners to promote the rights of children to survive and thrive.

Ms. Veneman traveled to South Africa from China earlier this week having just announced a new partnership with Special Olympics International to advance the rights of children with intellectual disabilities.

Forming a partnership to draw attention to how children and young people are affected by HIV and AIDS, Ms. Veneman and Executive Director of UNAIDS Dr. Peter Piot launched the Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS campaign in November 2005.

For almost two years, the campaign has attracted support from a host of partners including, most recently, the International Cricket Council who dedicated last month’s ICC Twenty20 championships in South Africa to the campaign.

© UNICEF/HQ02-0130/ Markisz
Former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela holds aloft a document of stories from around the world at the close of the ‘Say Yes for Children' celebration at the Manhattan Center in New York City on 7 May 2002.

A champion of children's rights

Ms. Veneman is on a four day mission to South Africa and will visit community-based programmes for children and mothers with HIV. During her visit, she will also meet with Archbishop Desmond Tutu and give a keynote address at the 3rd Annual Grand Challenges in Global Health Meeting in Cape Town on Sunday. 

Mr. Mandela has been a champion of children’s rights and a supporter of UNICEF for many years.

In 2002, he travelled to New York with Graça Machel, his wife, to take part in the UN Special Session on Children and to present delegates with the results of a global web-based petition which he started a year earlier calling on people around the world to 'Say Yes for Children'.

By the start of the Special Session in March 2002, some 94 million people had followed his lead by choosing their top three children’s rights and pledging their support for the campaign.

Convened to review progress since the World Summit for Children in 1990, the UN Special Session on Children not only sparked a new kind of intergenerational dialogue on issues facing children but also reenergized the world’s commitment to children's rights.




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