Foster families in Haiti: One girl’s story
LES CAYES, Haiti, 29 November 2016 – “I want to become a professor one day,” says Sabrina. The little girl is seven years old and has a smile that radiates from ear to ear. Full of energy, she lists her favourite topics at school – reading and maths – and her favourite movie – Walt Disney’s ‘Frozen’. Nothing in her sparkling demeanour hints at the shadows of her past.
Georgia’s children with disabilities struggle against stigmatization
TBILISI, Georgia, 3 December 2016 – Six-year-old Gabriel smiles broadly as he sips on his fruit juice, with his mother Tamuna watching as she relates his story. “His lip was cut; it was bruised and swollen, and he had injuries to his head.”
From Boko Haram captive to children's teacher: Femi's inspiring story
BORNO STATE, Nigeria, 7 December 2016 – Last year, Femi's* father was sick. So sick, in fact, that Femi wanted to go and look after him. The 17-year-old left his school in the south of the country to travel to the north-east, to Borno state, where his father lived in a small village. Femi didn't anticipate being gone too long.
Youth are key actors for peace in Burundi
MUBANGA, Burundi, 22 November 2016 – “My life has been so hard. I have been living in fear all the time. Since the beginning of the previous war in 1993, me and my family had to move from one house to another. We just want peace.”
From troubled past to bright future: A new start for vulnerable adolescents in Kosovo
PRISTINA, 10 November 2016 – G.P. was only 15 years old when he got into a serious fight with one of his peers. The conflict had started as a verbal disagreement, but in the heat of the moment, G.P. inflicted serious bodily injuries on the other boy. This type of physical altercation is considered a criminal offence by the Kosovo Juvenile Justice Code.
Protecting children from violations and abuse in Gaza
GAZA, State of Palestine, 21 October 2016 – Seventeen-year-old Ahmad* has spent much of his childhood living in fear. Growing up in the Gaza Strip, he has witnessed three major rounds of armed conflict since 2009, and nearly ten years of blockade.
Living in peace: Community engagement for child protection in Rakhine State
MAUNGDAW, Rakhine State, Myanmar, 12 October 2016 – When Saw Myat Thu was 20 years old, she discovered a new passion. Done with school and eager to help her family, she took a job as an assistant teacher at an Early Childhood Development (ECD) centre in Maungdaw, Myanmar. To her surprise, she loved it.
In Tanzania, child protection systems keep children safe from harm
MBEYA, Tanzania, 18 July 2016 – The backyard in Christer and Juma Mabuza’s home in Muvwa village, Mbeya District Council, is the place where their family gathers to prepare dinner. While Juma lights a fire and Christer chops spinach from her vegetable garden, their six children play on makeshift drums with Pretty*, an 18-month-old child the Mabuzas are fostering.
“Camps have become a way of life” for families fleeing violence in South Sudan
JUBA, South Sudan, 15 July 2016 – Maria, a mother of three boys, fled her home a week ago to escape violence that had erupted in her once safe community. Along with thousands of others, the family made their way to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan in Juba. Now, one week on, she still has no plans to return to her home and waits in worried anticipation of what will happen next.
In North Darfur, Child Friendly Spaces bring happiness and stability in the shadow of conflict
ZAMZAM CAMP, North Darfur, Sudan, 5 July 2016 – After locals helped establish a refuge for newly arrived children at the Zamzam camp for the internally displaced, a steady stream of traumatized boys and girls began turning up at the front gates.
In Kosovo, a second chance for vulnerable children
PRISTINA, 1 July, 2016 – Gani Berisha wakes up at the crack of dawn and quietly puts on some clothes so as not to wake his family. The hands of the clock show it’s barely 6 a.m. as he steps outside and begins his commute to Pristina. He works at the same intersection almost every day. On some days he cleans the windows of cars passing by, hoping that he’ll get a few pennies in exchange. And on others he simply begs for money. Most people avoid him or utter profanities at him, but he is happy to get away with a few euros a day to help his poverty-stricken family.
A seven-year ordeal: A street child’s experience in Burundi
BUJUMBURA, Burundi, 29 June 2016 – Aimable was sleeping on the side of the road one evening. A car stopped near him and the driver asked why he was there. He explained that he is homeless and spends his days in that area asking for money. The driver drove off, but a few minutes later, returned with milk and bread. This was one of Aimable’s happiest memories from sleeping on the street for nearly seven years. He doesn’t have many nice memories from this time.
Teenagers help their peers stay safe online in Asia-Pacific
BANGKOK, Thailand, 7 June 2016 – Fourteen-year-old Nicole is a confident and outgoing girl from Kuala Lumpur, or ‘KL’ as locals call it. Famous for its iconic Petronas Twin Towers, her city is the high-rise metropolitan capital of Malaysia. Nicole’s dream is to become an architect and help design the next generation of KL’s buildings.
Safe from harm: Tackling online child sexual abuse in the Philippines
MANILA, Philippines, 3 June 2016 – One evening in 2014, Philippines police raided an ordinary looking home in the slums of Manila. It was just before midnight, and darkness permeated the surrounding narrow alleys as the officers entered with a search warrant. Inside the small single room house, they found an unusual amount of computer equipment: laptops, webcams and a Wi-Fi router.
In Cuba, celebrating differences through inclusive football
SANCTI SPÍRITUS, Cuba, 16 May 2016 – As Joana, 14, and her team prepare for the final round of Cuba’s first inclusive football tournament, it is hard to believe that just one year ago she had never played the sport before.
Helping children cope with violence in Yemen
SANA’A, Yemen, 14 April 2016 – “Boom! Boom!” a girl yells, before she and four others dive to the ground in unison. A few minutes later, one of them starts screaming. The others rise to their feet and begin to calm her down. “You are ok, you are not hurt,” one of the girls says, comforting her classmate.
A harrowing escape from Boko Haram in Nigeria
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria, 11 April 2016 – What surprised me most about the little boys was that they refused to eat. Although they were obviously hungry and tired, all three of them turned away the bowls of rice that were offered to them.
Giving up guns to tend goats gives children hope in South Sudan
PIBOR, South Sudan, 11 February 2016 – His days were once spent on exhausting treks through the bush, armed and poised for danger, never straying far from the commander whose life he was charged with protecting. He had risen through the ranks of Cobra Faction, an armed group caught up in fighting that predates South Sudan’s current conflict, a cook and dishwasher become bodyguard.
Sharing cherished memories provides vital comfort for Syrian children
QAMISHLI, Syrian Arab Republic, 29 December 2015 – “He always bought us the best clothes and took us for walks in the gardens of Aleppo, where we’d have our lunch in the open air,” says Ghaithaa, 13.
From cocoa field to classroom, in Côte d’Ivoire
SAN PEDRO, Côte d’Ivoire, 26 December 2014 – On a warm September day, Halima sits in the back of the classroom, listening carefully to her teacher. At 10 years old, she is the oldest student in her class. She is just starting her first year of school, in the small village of Koffikro in southwest Côte d’Ivoire. Until now, her parents have refused to send her to school.
Protecting vulnerable children through government support for families
NEW YORK, United States of America, 23 September 2014 — Iliya, a 12-year-old boy from Serbia with Down syndrome, lived in a state-run institution for much of his life. Despite all efforts, it was not possible for him to return to his biological parents. Today, he is growing up in the care of a loving foster family.
Adolescent girl club in Sierra Leone tackles teenage pregnancy and engenders independence
PORT LOKO, Sierra Leone, 14 July 2014 – A group of teenage girls take off their shoes and enter a large room on the second storey of an old building, across the street from Port Loko’s bustling market. They are members of the Wharf club, an adolescent club for girls, and they meet here every afternoon.
Children bear the brunt of renewed fighting in Gaza
GAZA, 14 July 2014 – In Gaza City’s al-Shifa hospital, two 5-year-old children lie in bed. Noureldin and his cousin Kinan were both seriously injured by shrapnel after an airstrike flattened the family’s home on Tuesday night. Noureldin’s mother had just put the boys to sleep in a bedroom when the missile struck, killing her and her husband, reportedly a militant, as well as Kinan’s father, sister and grandmother.
In Burkina Faso, getting children out of the gold mines
GOROL KADJE, Burkina Faso, 11 June 2014 – In the northern reaches of Burkina Faso, not far from Dori, 15-year-old Boureima Hawma Boukoum is lowered down a mineshaft the width of a manhole. Clinging to a rope cranked by hand, he descends more than 30 metres. An old torch, held to his head by strips of inner tube, provides the only light. At the bottom of the shaft, he crawls another 10 metres through narrow tunnels and starts to dig. He's looking for gold.
In Swaziland, child victims of abuse find a shoulder to cry on
MALYADUMA, Swaziland, 28 May 2014 – As a child, Khanyisile Simelane had reason to cry. Her parents abused her, and she had nowhere to turn. Now, at the age of 56, she is someone children can turn to. She is part of an army of volunteers who help child victims of abuse know they are not alone – that they have someone to talk to, someone who can help them.
In Sudan, taking a stand against female genital cutting
KASSALA, Sudan, 7 February 2013 – Sitting in a bed at Saudi Hospital with her newborn, Imtenan, Fatema explains that reaching her decision was easy, in spite of the strength of tradition. “My daughter will not be cut,” Fatema says.
At opening session of UNICEF Executive Board, child protection takes centre stage
NEW YORK, United States of America, 4 February 2014 – Today the UNICEF Executive Board opened its first regular session of 2014 by drawing particular attention to the importance of child protection, a foundation for the fulfilment of all child rights outlined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Field Diary: Children caught in violence in the Central African Republic
BANGUI, Central African Republic, 13 January 2014 – Early Saturday morning I arrived in Bangui as part of UNICEF's emergency response team in the Central African Republic. As the plane taxied towards the airport terminal, we could see the vast site bordering the airport where 100,000 people have built a makeshift camp after they fled fighting in and around Bangui.
In South Sudan’s capital, critical aid reaches conflict-displaced families
NEW YORK, United States of America, 8 January 2014 – Children in the world’s youngest country are no strangers to conflict. Three years ago, the people of Southern Sudan voted for independence after decades of civil war between north and south – a war that took a significant toll on both sides. And for many children and their families in South Sudan, internal conflict has also been a source of threat.
A mother flees in search of safety, again – this time in Chad
TISSI, Chad, 30 December 2013 – Khadidja Dramane* has reached the age of 50 without really knowing where to call home. Safety, for the moment, is Tissi – an inhospitable, isolated and unstable area on the south-eastern tip of Chad.
Giving displaced children in Afghanistan an education, and an opportunity
KABUL, Afghanistan, 18 December 2013 – Before arriving at the Charahi Qambar camp for internally displaced people, 16-year-old Agha LaLay had never attended school. He didn’t know how to read, didn’t know how to write, and his math skills were nonexistent.
Safe spaces for new mothers and their babies, as recovery from Typhoon Haiyan continues in the Philippines
TACLOBAN, Philippines, 16 December 2013 – Cristina Yuzol cradles baby Kathlyn in her arms. Kathlyn was born on 19 November, shortly after Typhoon Haiyan hit.
UNICEF Deputy Executive Director visits programmes supporting Palestinian children
EAST JERUSALEM, 12 December 2013 – UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Yoka Brandt recently concluded a four-day visit to the State of Palestine to view and discuss the situation of children with partners from government, civil society and the international community, including the United Nations system, and observe UNICEF-supported programmes.
Displaced families struggle to rebuild their lives after Typhoon Haiyan
TACLOBAN, Philippines, 11 December 2013 – Morning finds evacuees at the Rizal Central School sleeping on top of school desks, benches, and on the floor side by side. “We’re like sardines,” says Dennie Monteroso, a mother of six children. In this one classroom, 22 families share cooking duties, eat together on desks, and share meals of relief goods – canned sardines and packs of dried noodles, mostly.
Child-friendly centre provides relief to typhoon-affected children in Tacloban City
TACLOBAN, Philippines, 6 December 2013 – Frances Ramandiman, 10, claimed the little guitar from the UNICEF box for a few minutes, enough time to pick out a few chords and practice strumming. He is a beginner in so many things, yet Frances is a veteran and a survivor of one of the worst storms the world has ever seen.
In Tacloban, creating an oasis where children can be children, and safe
TACLOBAN, Philippines, 21 November 2013 – Hearing a group of children singing ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’ at the new child-friendly space in Tacloban, it seems as if nothing out of the ordinary has happened outside this tent. The children smile and participate energetically.
On Universal Children's Day, young activist receives EU's top human rights award
STRASBOURG, France, 20 November 2013 – It was an award befitting the day. On Universal Children’s Day, European parliamentarians presented the Sakharov Prize, Europe’s highest human rights award, to Malala Yousufzai, the first child to receive the annual prize since it was established 25 years ago.
In Kenya, a child helpline proves a lifeline for a young victim of rape, and her family
Kenya, 20 November 2013 – This year, a four-year legal battle ended. The man who had raped Christine* when she was 14 years old – a man who had been a teacher at her school – was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
In a country in conflict, bringing peace to children's minds
BOSSANGOA, Central African Republic, 6 November 2013 – Like most children, 13-year-old Felicia loves to draw. But her drawings are not the usual happy scenes of school and family and friends. In vivid colours, she draws a man lying on the ground dead, houses burned down, and men carrying weapons. For a young girl forced to flee for her life several times in recent months, the memories of violence are still fresh.
New programme in Iraq aims to bring education, and hope, to children in prison
BASRA, Iraq, 4 November 2013 – Mohamed is the oldest of six children. In primary school, he was among the best students in his class.
Melissa Kasoke raises her voice for girls' education in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
GOMA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 22 October 2013 – Not all girls in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo have access to education. Melissa Kasoke, 14, does. “I like studying because I’d like to help my family someday, so I won’t always depend on my family and I’ll be able to help my parents and those who suffer,” she says.
Young Ugandan Leila Nassanga is a university student, a youth leader – and a U-Reporter
KABOWA RUBAGA, Uganda, 22 October 2013 – Leila Nassanga distinctly recalls the negative attitudes people had about her dream of becoming a civil engineer, when she was a young girl growing up in Kabowa Rubaga.
In Uganda, seeking to improve birth registration across Africa
KAMPALA, Uganda, 16 October 2013 – Registering births and deaths is a basic function of any national government, because it helps ensure fundamental rights of citizens and provides important statistical data. But today more than half of all sub-Saharan African children are not registered at birth.
Two girls in Niger escape the violence of their circumstances
NIAMEY, Niger, 11 October 2013 - Two years ago, 17-year-old Barira, ran away from home. It was not the home she had grown up in with her parents. It was the home she shared with her husband.
European Union officials take to social media, spread message to #ENDviolence against children
BRUSSELS, Belgium, 7 October 2013 – At the end of August 2013, top European Union officials endorsed UNICEF’s #ENDviolence initiative.
Helping youth associated with gangs create a better future for themselves – and their communities
ZINDER, the Niger, 3 October 2013 – Moctar, 20, is an active member of a ‘palace’ in Zinder.
On International Day of Non-Violence, #ENDviolence against children
NEW YORK, United States of America, 1 October, 2013 – The International Day of Non-Violence, held every year on 2 October, was created to commemorate the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, whose philosophy and message of non-violence has inspired countless individuals and movements for freedom and civil rights.
Experts debate solutions needed to #ENDviolence against children
FLORENCE, Italy, 2 October 2013 – There is no country in the world that can say all its children are free from violence. The issue crosses social, economic and cultural lines, and it affects millions of children worldwide.
Using innovation to end violence against children
NEW YORK, United States of America, 25 September 2013 – With a digitally streamed lineup of leaders, celebrities and innovators – and as one of the only major public United Nations week events, happening across more than 100 countries, the Social Good Summit has the caché of attracting the digitally hip and socially conscious.
Going door to door to get children back to school
TIMBUKTU, Mali, 3 September 2013 – Early on a Monday morning, a man wearing a turban and draped in a large robe runs a sharp eye over the classroom in the Accelerated Learning Gateway strategy centre in the district of Hamabangou, on the outskirts of Timbuktu.
Mapping a city's risks, Haiti youth learn about health and technology
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 28 August 2013 – Carl Dorceus knows a good bit about HIV – how the disease is transmitted, how to protect himself and the importance of sharing what he knows with his friends.
European Union top officials back #ENDviolence initiative
BRUSSELS, Belgium, 27 August 2013 – Within a week of the launch of UNICEF’s initiative on violence against children, all of the top officials of the European Union (EU) had endorsed the campaign and joined the growing global movement to #ENDviolence.
It is time to sound the red siren against violence against girls and women in India
NEW DELHI, India, 26 August 2013 – The gang rape of a 22-year-old photojournalist has sparked outrage against sexual violence in India once again. Five men attacked the woman at 6 pm in central Mumbai on 22 August, while she was on assignment.
A UNICEF staff member in Sudan recalls a night caught in fierce fighting
KADUGLI, Sudan, 21 May 2013 – I’m a Sudanese national working with UNICEF Sudan as a child protection officer in Kadugli Zone Office.
A social worker in Sierra Leone takes on child exploitation
MAKENI, Sierra Leone, 14 August 2013 – Aminata*, a 16-year-old schoolgirl, lives with her four younger brothers and her grandmother in Makeni, the main city of Sierra Leone’s Northern Province. “We don’t have a mother,” she explains. “Some say she was killed during the war.”
Trafficked into labour, a young girl tries to regain what she's lost
ABUJA, Nigeria, 13 August 2013 – Blessing’s story is short, and it has many holes, because she simply doesn’t remember much of her life – at least the part before she came to Lagos, West Africa’s biggest metropolis.
Global anti-violence initiative off to a successful start
NEW YORK, United States of America, 2 August 2013 – UNICEF’s latest initiative to end violence against children has ignited imagination throughout the world.
Promised in marriage, a young girl gets her childhood back
HERAT, Afghanistan, 30 July 2013 – When Farzana* was 10 years old, her father, a farmer and labourer in a small village in western Afghanistan, arranged for her to marry a man 40 years her senior. The groom, already married and the father of six children – most of them older than Farzana – paid $9,000 to Farzana’s father in return for his daughter’s hand in marriage.
Liam Neeson supports UNICEF anti-violence initiative
NEW YORK, 31 July 2013 – UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Liam Neeson is raising his voice in support of a new UNICEF initiative to prevent violence against children.
Grace Akallo comes back from the last place on earth
NEW YORK, United States of America, 29 July 2013 – She speaks of her days in captivity with a calculated dissociation. It’s very difficult talk about it, she says. Seventeen years on, looking back is still so painful that she needs to distance herself from the past to be able to share her story.
Cash transfer programme provides support to victims of violence in Mali
MOPTI, Mali, 2 August 2013 – At the Bas Fond landfill in Mopti, residents sift through the rubbish, the dregs of other people's consumption. In a country as poor as Mali, they have to dig deep to find something for the keeping. The people living around this squalid waste disposal area are the poorest of the poor. Yet 16-year-old Fatoumata Traoré* would rather stay here than return to Tonka, the town in Mali’s Timbuktu region she was forced to flee.
New UNICEF report on female genital mutilation/cutting: Turning opposition into action
NEW YORK, United States of America, 22 July 2013 – “I don’t want any part of my body to be cut. I don’t want to be circumcised,” says 10-year old Kheiriya Abidi from Boorama town, North-West Somalia.
UNICEF's first international photographer
NEW YORK, United States of America, 8 July 2013 – In early 1948, UNESCO Director of Mass Communications and Public Information John Grierson telegraphed the photographer David Seymour to advise that he was “most anxious discuss immediate photographic journey to eastern European countries”. Seymour, nicknamed Chim, eagerly accepted the assignment. Its focus would be the situation of children in five war-devastated European countries and the relief response of United Nations agencies, including UNICEF, which had been created in December 1946, less than two years before. The countries were Austria, Greece, Hungary, Italy and Poland.
A girl accused of witchcraft finds support, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
GOMA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 26 June 2013 – Children who are accused of sorcery often live a lonely life. Such is the case for 16-year old Josiane*. “I told myself I should avoid contact with other people’s children as to avoid being accused of doing evil to them,” she explains, tears shining in her eyes.
At Security Council: A call for more action to end the violation of children's rights, in conflict
NEW YORK, United States of America, 20 June 2013 – His face and body are badly burned. He can barely speak. His home in Hama, Syrian Arab Republic, went up in flames when it was hit by a rocket – and the family couldn’t get 4-year-old Adnan out in time.
At Security Council: A call for more action to end the violation of children's rights, in conflict
NEW YORK, United States of America, 20 June 2012 – His face and body are badly burned. He can barely speak. His home in Hama, Syrian Arab Republic, went up in flames when it was hit by a rocket – and the family couldn’t get 4-year-old Adnan out in time. Safe, if destitute, in a makeshift camp in Lebanon, Adnan lives with constant reminder of the brutal war – his own body, his continuing fear.
In Georgia, new emphasis on foster care and small group homes over large institutions
TBILISI, Georgia, 17 June 2013 – Giorgi, a 4-year-old bundle of energy, rushes to greet visitors and then buzzes around Irma Sanikidze’s home like a hummingbird. He plays with Ms. Sanikidze’s 5-year-old son Ilya, checks on the younger children – two 3-year-olds and an 18-month-old – and gazes curiously at the newest arrival, a tiny newborn who sleeps in Ms. Sanikidze’s arms.
World Day Against Child Labour shines spotlight on plight of domestic workers
NEW YORK, 11 June 2013 – On World Day Against Child Labour, UNICEF shines a spotlight on the shocking extent of the abuse of children who work in hazardous or exploitative conditions.
New study brings violence against indigenous girls and women into focus
NEW YORK, United States of America, 4 June 2013 – The issue of violence against indigenous girls and women is not only under-discussed and under-studied, but it also remains concealed, in most countries. Indigenous communities have been historically marginalized and continue to be discriminated against, and it’s young girls and women who pay the highest price.
Activist Grace Akallo says stay steadfast and committed to bring peace through education
NEW YORK, United States of America, 10 April 2013 – Teaching children to make peace in the classroom, on the playground, at home and in their communities can have a lasting impact on children to live in a world free of violence and conflict, said Grace Akallo, activist, formerly associated with an armed group.
Parliamentarians address the rights of children with disabilities
QUITO, Ecuador, 2 April 2013 – More than 600 parliamentarians participated in the 128th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly held from 22–27 March in Quito, Ecuador. The parliamentarians came together to tackle a range of challenges – from crisis in the Syrian Arab Republic to development priorities after 2015.
Trauma facility established by UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Tetsuko Kuroyanagi in South Sudan is lifeline for young victims
JUBA, South Sudan, 1 April 2013 – It is a shelter of hope and survival she helped build 17 years ago. Since then, it has saved the lives of thousands of children in South Sudan and neighbouring countries.
In Guatemala, Executive Director welcomes steps towards greater focus on child protection systems
GUATEMALA, 1 April 2013 – Executive Director Anthony Lake welcomes steps towards greater focus on child protection systems. While challenges remain, Guatemala has taken steps towards improving child protection systems, establishing more specialized Children’s Courts, pledging to resolve ‘transition adoption’ cases, preventing children ending up in institutions, supporting families to keep their children and punishing crimes against children.
Event seeks to ensure issue of violence against children on post-2015 development agenda
NEW YORK, United States of America, 26 March 1013 – International experts gathered at UNICEF House yesterday to discuss how to advocate more effectively for the issue of violence against children.
In Rwanda, helping Congolese refugee children be children again
RUBAVU, Rwanda, 20 March 2013 – Yvette Gateyeneza, 14, spends most of her day helping her mother and older sister prepare food, fetch water and wash the few clothes they were able to carry with them before settling in Nkamira Transit Centre.
Burned in an attack and now in exile in Lebanon, Adnan is one of the children at the heart of the Syrian crisis
AKKAR region, Lebanon, 13 March 2013 – When their home in Hama, western Syrian Arab Republic, was hit by a rocket, Adnan’s parents could not manage to take their son out in time. “He did not stay that long in the fire. Not more than two minutes. But the fire was very harsh on him,” his father recalls.
Two years into conflict, Syrian Arab Republic is on the verge of losing a generation to violence
NEW YORK, United States of America, 12 March 2013 – For the past two years, the world has seen crisis explode in the Syrian Arab Republic. Twenty-four months of chaos and conflict have cost the country thousands of lives, many of them children.
Early intervention and quality education to end violence against girls
NEW YORK, United States of America, 8 March 2013 – On the eve of International Women’s Day, a panel of five experts representing academia, government, civil society and the United Nations called for an end to violence against girls through better and earlier monitoring and interventions, improved education systems, and a coordinated multi-sectoral response.
Violence against women impedes development
NEW YORK, United States of America, 8 March 2013 – The United Nations is focusing on violence against women on this year’s International Women’s Day.
Two years after earthquake and tsunami in Japan, commitment to affected children remains strong
Japan, 7 March 2013 – It has been two years since UNICEF entrusted the Japan Committee for UNICEF with performing the vital role of extending support to children in Japan for the first time in some 50 years, following the earthquake and tsunami that affected hundreds of thousands of people in northeast Japan.
Towards abandoning female genital mutilation/cutting in Somalia for once, and for all
BOORAMA, northwest Somalia, 27 February 2013 – Ten-year-old Kheiriya has a secret. The secret is that, unlike most girls her age in Boorama, she has not been circumcised. The soft-spoken girl is scared to let others know.
A student gets his youngest brother back from an armed group in the Central African Republic
BANGUI, Central African Republic, 6 March 2013 –The Central African Republic has endured a decade of repeated of military and political crises that have affected the socio-economic fabric, defence and national security of the country.
UNICEF Deputy Executive Director visits children in an adult prison in Jamaica
KINGSTON, Jamaica, 26 February, 2013 – On her first visit to Jamaica, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Geeta Rao Gupta heard first-hand from children detained at the Fort Augusta Adult Correctional Centre, the country’s only prison for women.
Transforming the lives of children with disabilities through inclusive education
NEW YORK 14 February 2013—Children with disabilities are among the most vulnerable and excluded in the world. Their rights are often violated.
Without birth registration, children are shut out of society altogether
NEW YORK, United States of America, 12 February 2013 – Registering a child’s birth is a critical first step towards safeguarding her or his lifelong protection by establishing an official identity, a recognized name and a nationality.
Finnish rock star and UNICEF National Ambassador Jyrki Linnankivi visits Nicaragua to meet victims of trafficking
MANAGUA, Nicaragua, 29 January 2013 – Finnish rock star and UNICEF National Ambassador Jyrki Linnankivi recently concluded a trip to Nicaragua during which he had visited programmes for prevention of the sexual exploitation and trafficking of children.
Haunted by violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, children relieve their pain through art
GOMA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 11 January 2013 – Georges* attends a drawing session. He is in a child-friendly space managed by UNICEF partner AVSI in Mugunga III, a site in the North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo where several thousand internally displaced persons have found shelter.
Back-breaking and life-threatening labour in the tunnels the only option, say teenagers in the State of Palestine
GAZA, State of Palestine, 9 January 2013 - In the small patch of land that runs along Gaza’s southern border with Egypt, the sound of generators roars amid hundreds of white tents planted in the landscape of sand and bullet-riddled ruins.
In Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan, working with children who have lived through war
AMMAN, Jordan, 7 January 2013 - Jane MacPhail shows me a mountain of drawings done by Syrian refugee children at the camp. We go through them together, and I notice that they are mostly happy images with no guns, tanks or blood.
Syrian refugee children are dying, they are hurt and they need healing, says UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Sir Roger Moore
NEW YORK, United States of America, 19 December 2012 – The number of Syrian refugees has risen to over half a million. UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Sir Roger Moore has made an urgent plea for additional humanitarian assistance for women and children who have had to flee their homes – especially as winter has presented even more challenges.
In Viet Nam, exploring the opportunities and risks of digital evolution
November 2012, Hanoi -- As Viet Nam experiences rapid growth in access to mobile phones and the Internet, UNICEF and partners are focusing attention on the impact of this digital expansion on children in the country. According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Internet penetration in Viet Nam doubled between 2006 and 2011 while the number of mobile phone subscriptions per 100 inhabitants jumped from 22 to 143 during the same time period. Children and young people are at the forefront of this surge in use.
In the Philippines, working hard to ensure no harm comes to children separated from their families by Typhoon Bopha
COMPOSTELA VALLEY, Mindanao, The Philippines, 14 December 2012 – A few weeks before Christmas, 13-year-old Mary* dreams that she is having a Christmas party with her friends and family.
In Jordan, young Syrian refugees meet to discuss their concerns and receive guidance and support
AMMAN, Jordan, 13 December 2012 - Rahaf, 19, was studying to be a doctor in the Syrian Arab Republic before she fled to Jordan one month ago. She and her family were reluctant to leave their home in Dera’a until a bomb blast killed her two sisters and injured her oldest brother. “After that, my parents saw there was nothing to do but get away,” she says.
In Ethiopia, placing institutions and adoption practices under scrutiny - and reuniting children with their families
JARE HINESSA, Ethiopia, 10 December 2012 - Emotions run high when baby Meseret comes home. It’s been 14 months since she was placed in an orphanage by her father, a single parent who had hoped that she would be adopted and raised abroad.
Podcast #68: Musician Emmanuel Jal on his music, his work as a peace activist, and South Sudan
NEW YORK, United States of America, 7 December 2012 – At the age of 7, Emmanuel Jal walked hundreds of miles in search of an education. Born in a war-torn area that is now part of South Sudan, he joined thousands of children who were told schools awaited them in Ethiopia.
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Orlando Bloom visits South African children
WESTERN CAPE, South Africa, 5 December 2012 - UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Orlando Bloom met up with children and young people near Cape Town to learn more about their lives and to help the world hear what they have to say.
In the face of ongoing insecurity in Pakistan, a 13-year-old boy plays an active role in a camp for displaced persons
JALOZAI CAMP, Pakistan, 5 December 2012 – In his spare time, 13-year-old Irfan Ullah practises spin bowling, copying his favourite Pakistani cricketer, Shahid Afridi. Handy with a bat, Irfan hopes to represent Pakistan’s national team one day.
Climate change heats up threats to children
FLORENCE, Italy, 5 December 2012 - When Superstorm Sandy ravaged areas from the Caribbean to the mid-Atlantic and northeastern United States of America at the end of October, more and more people eyed climate change as a cause of the calamity.
Fifth anniversary of landmark agreement to end the involvement of children in armed conflict brings call for renewed commitment
NEW YORK, United States of America, 4 December 2012 – On the fifth anniversary of a landmark agreement designed to protect children from becoming involved in armed conflict, UNICEF and its partners have called for more stringent measures to address the root causes of the issue.
Changing attitudes towards people with disabilities
NEW YORK, United States of America, 3 December 2012 - Stigma, ignorance, neglect, superstition and communication barriers are among the social factors that explain the discrimination and isolation from society that children with disabilities face.
Children speak out on key issues at the third Pan African Forum on Children, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, 27 November 2012 – The message of children attending the third Pan African Forum on Children was clear: Despite improvements in their welfare, a lot still needs to be done to enhance the lives of millions of children facing daunting challenges across Africa.
For the first time in Jordan, young children who cannot be cared for by their biological parents are placed with foster families, not institutions
ZARQA, 26 November 2012 – Like any new mother, Amra* is besotted with her baby girl. “When I put her to sleep beside me, I gaze at her and admire her,” she says.
With children and families on the frontline of conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, UNICEF and partners respond urgently
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO, 21 November 2012 - “We are on the ground and are reaching out to children affected by the crisis,” says UNICEF Representative in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Barbara Bentein.
In occupied Palestinian territory, the violence has had a direct impact on children, and families struggle to cope
GAZA, occupied Palestinian territory, 20 November 2012 – The violence has had a direct impact on children, and families are struggling to cope.
In Somalia, UNICEF supports efforts to push back against a tide of violence against women and girls
MOGADISHU, Somalia, 20 November 2012 – Mayeda* was displaced in 1992 and again in 2011 because of famine in southern Somalia. She has lived in Tarabunka camp for a year.
Children are caught in the new wave of violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
New York, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 19 November 2012 – They were too young to understand the violence that would kill them. Bearing the brunt of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict on their shrouds, four children from the Dalu family were buried amidst continued bombardment in Gaza City, occupied Palestinian territory. Their family home was turned into rubble by missile attack on Sunday.
UNICEF and Calle 13 join forces to raise global awareness about rising violence in Latin America and the Caribbean, and beyond
MEXICO CITY, Mexico, 15 November 2012 - Last Thursday, Puerto Rican musical group Calle 13, led by stepbrothers René Pérez Joglar (Residente) and Eduardo Cabra Martínez (Visitante), launched their new music video, La Bala (The Bullet), a call for global awareness about gun violence, in a joint venture with UNICEF.
At United Nations Headquarters in New York, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake and other high-level panelists discuss the importance of birth registration
NEW YORK, United States of America, 8 November 2012 – Every child has the right to be registered at birth without any discrimination, according to Article 7 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Chinese documentary about youth struggling to help their families wins UNICEF Prize
TOKYO, Japan, 5 November 2012 - Chinese filmmaker Huaqing Jin speaks via video message to the 39th Japan Prize ceremony, on behalf of Chinese television outlet Zhengjiang Satellite TV.
In occupied Palestinian territory, UNICEF and partners tackle the risks of open cesspools
Gaza, occupied Palestinian territory, 2 November 2012 - White birds fly low over the mirror-smooth pond before landing in the grass, where, much to the delight of 16-year-old Ahmed, some start singing.
In Ethiopia, a community takes measures to protect girls from harmful practices including child marriage
BOSET WOREDA, Ethiopia, 24 October 2012 - A beautiful landscape surrounds the well-fenced and clean Borchota Primary School compound in Boset Woreda. The school has 168 female and 197 male students.
In Maldives, UNICEF is working closely with the government to address rising violence against girls and women
MALDIVES, 23 Oct 2012 – When Hawwa* was 17, five men raped her. The teenager knew three of the men. One had been her closest friend.
In Pakistan, UNICEF and partners provide essential services in area devastated by monsoon floodwaters
JACOBABAD DISTRICT, Pakistan, 19 October 2012 - Reshma is a cheerful first-grader with hopes and aspirations for her future. She makes beautiful dolls in her spare time.
In Haiti, reuniting separated children with their families
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 19 October 2012 – Seven-year-old Mitchialine Innocent plays with her cousin in the courtyard of their home in Port-au-Prince. You wouldn’t be able to tell that, only a year ago, she was rescued, half-starved, from an ‘orphanage’, or residential care centre.
In Nepal, celebration focuses on enabling girls to reach their potential
KATHMANDU, Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, 18 October 2012 - On the occasion of the first International Day of the Girl Child, the global community focused its attention on the challenges girls face and promoted the empowerment of girls and the fulfillment of their rights.
In Kazakhstan, ensuring youth voices are heard in disaster risk reduction
UST-KAMENOGORSK, Kazakhstan, 17 October 2012 – In Missing you, Erkezhan Kalibekova, 16, describes the loss of her parents, who died in a flash flood in this Central Asian nation. She wishes they could have known what to do so they could have survived – and seen her grow into a teenager.
In Lebanon, Palestinian refugees fleeing conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic face new challenges
BEIRUT, Lebanon, 16 October 2012 - Ten-year-old Ahmed* and his family have come to Lebanon from a Palestinian refugee camp in the Syrian Arab Republic. They fled their camp near Damascus when fighting intensified. One day, Ahmed’s 12-year-old sister Mona had stumbled across a bloody corpse close to their home.
CNN and UNICEF raise awareness of the silent emergency of child stunting
New York, United States of America, 16 October 2012 - CNN has partnered with UNICEF to put the international spotlight on the global crisis of stunting, or low height for age in children. About 165 million children under the age of 5 suffer from stunting, with more than 90 per cent of them living in Africa and Asia.
In Kenya, minors find essential care in a refugee camp supported by UNICEF
DADAAB, Kenya, 12 October 2012 - The world’s most populated refugee settlement is in Dadaab, North Eastern Province, Kenya. The Dadaab refugee complex comprises Dagahaley, Hagadera, Ifo, Ifo II and Kambioos refugee camps, with a total population of more than 470,000, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
United Nations marks first International Day of the Girl Child with a call to end child marriage
NEW YORK, United States of America, 11 OCTOBER 2012 - “Let girls be girls, not brides,” said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon at a high-level discussion on ‘Ending Child Marriage’ in observance of the first International Day of the Girl Child.
In Mauritania, progress made in ending female genital mutilation/cutting
NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania, 11 October 2012 – Fatima was just a week old when she lost her life to a serious infection following her excision.
In Malawi, compulsory universal birth registration protects children from abuses and opens access to social services
LILONGWE, Malawi, 10 October 2012 - Newborn Joshou Nandola is bundled warmly in a big woolly blanket. Joshou’s name is written on his birth report. Joshou will know his birthday.
UNICEF and partners respond to the refugee situation in Maban, South Sudan
BUNJ, South Sudan, 5 October 2012 - You can hear the heavy rains outside the hospital in Bunj, in Maban County, South Sudan. Inside, Dr. Evan Atar treats 2-year-old Mustapha for severe malnutrition.
In India, village committees take on child marriage, convincing families to reject the age-old practice
MIRZAPUR, Uttar Pradesh, India, 8 October 2012 - Pratigya hears that Chandra Devi is planning to marry off her daughter Basanti. She picks up her shoulder bag and calls on Chandra Devi.
In the Central African Republic, parent-teachers provide basic education in conflict-affected area and beyond
OBO, Central African Republic, 3 October 2012 - Since 2009, when attacks by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) began in the area, the number of people fleeing their homes in and around the rural town of Obo, Central African Republic, has increased significantly.
Global leaders demand urgent action for education in emergencies
NEW YORK, 25 September 2012 - At a high-level meeting at UNICEF’s New York headquarters yesterday on delivering education in humanitarian environments and conflict-affected states, global leaders demanded urgent action to deliver quality education for children who live in countries scarred by war, conflict and other humanitarian emergencies.
UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake emphasizes the role of national governments in protecting children in conflict
NEW YORK, 19 September 2012—The United Nations Security Council has adopted a resolution designed to end impunity for those who abuse children during armed conflict.
Youth affected by juvenile justice share their voices through videos
GENEVA, Switzerland and BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan, 21 September 2012 – Two years ago, Aramais, from Yerevan, Armenia, was accused of rape. He pleaded innocent. But the investigation took more than six months, during which time the pressure on the then-15-year-old boy mounted and became almost unbearable.
Ensuring Palestinian children the right to a quality education
YANOUN, occupied Palestinian territory, 18 September 2012—For many of the 1.2 million students living in the occupied Palestinian territory, returning to school last week was an enjoyable experience. But for students living in Yanoun, a village in the northern West Bank, returning to class was stressful.
With DRC facing a new wave of violence, UNICEF appeals for aid to meet the needs of the internally displaced
GOMA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 21 August 2012 – In July, 25-year-old Amani Kasingufu fled her home village Kibumba, near the border with Rwanda. She and her two children found refuge at the internally displaced persons site of Kibati. For two weeks, they slept outside, but recently received supplies for shelter. “The plastic sheeting that I got will help in building a home and the blankets will protect my children,” she smiles.
Palestinian adolescents celebrate the ‘International Youth Year’ by making efforts to build a stronger society
Aqaba, West Bank, 10 August 2012 – Gathered around a table, 14-year-old Majd Dabak and several adolescent girls are busy completing an intricate piece of artwork using the coloured wedges of broken floor tiles.
Child Friendly Spaces Restore Normalcy in Syrian Children’s Lives
HERMEL, Lebanon, 20 July 2012 – 13-year-old Hiba* has a determination rarely seen in a child of that age. “I want to go back home, I loved it back there in Syria,” she says. “For now, I want to do French classes here to be able to go to school. I have lost one year. I do not want to lose another one.” Her classroom in Syria was destroyed by a bomb, an act she witnessed, but she remains strong and looks to the future. “This is all I wish for - to go back to school.”
In Syria, Schools Become Homes and Support Centers
DAMASCUS, Syria, 2 Aug, 2012 - In Damascus, Aleppo and other cities in Syria, schools are hosting internally displaced persons who had to flee neighbourhoods affected by shelling and violence. According to the Ministry of Education, 307 schools today are hosting internally displaced persons. Residents vary from 50 in a small school to more than 400 in big schools.
In Benin, a 17-year-old girl pays a heavy price for not being registered at birth
COTONOU, Benin, 31 July 2012 – Since January 2011, 17-year-old Irene Godonou A. has been an apprentice at a sewing programme in Agblangandan, located a half-hour’s drive from Cotonou.
UNICEF helps children affected by armed conflict in North Kivu, in DR Congo
GOMA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 30 July 2012 – “In the centre, I learn how to knit gloves and make baskets. I love to participate in the discussion groups here,” said Zele Flora, 15. Since she arrived in Mugunga, a site for internally displaced persons (IDPs), last April, she has frequented one of the child-friendly spaces (CFS) that UNICEF and its partner AVSI established in order to give children affected by conflict a place where they can be what they are: children, who play, learn and hope.
Rwanda moves to close down children’s institutions and improve its childcare system
KIGALI, Rwanda, 30 July 2012 –Three years ago, Esther arrived at the Mpore Pefa home, only a few hours old, naked and caked in blood from her umbilical cord. A man named Larry had found her in a field. She may have been the child of a student at the nearby secondary school, but that is speculation; nobody knows.
In Lebanon, summer camp offers safety, education and care for Syrian refugee children and marginalized Lebanese children
BEQAA VALLEY, Syria, 27 July 2012 – “Why [do] all beautiful things have an end?” said 8-year-old Chadi* at the end of a five-week summer camp for Syrian refugee children and marginalized Lebanese children. “I was so happy here; I played, learned and made so many friends.” The camp, organized by UNICEF and the Lebanese nongovernmental organization IQRA’ Association, offered a safe place for these children to learn, play and receive psychosocial support.
In Somalia, fuel-efficient stoves prevent sexual violence and generate income for vulnerable families
MOGADISHU, Somalia, 25 July 2012 – Girls and women in Mogadishu say that they are at greatest risk of sexual violence while they are collecting firewood. Children between ages 5 and 14 are at especially high risk, as they are the age group mostly assigned to this task.
Paralympic athletes and Ban Soon-teak launch the new ‘It’s About Ability’ campaign television commercial
CETINJE, Montenegro, 24 July 2012 – During the visit of the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to Montenegro, his wife Ban Soon-teak joined prominent young Paralympic athletes Marijana Goranovic and Ilija Tadic, Minister of Culture Branislav Micunovic, UNICEF Representative in Montenegro Benjamin Perks, Mayor of Cetinje Aleksandar Bogdanovic and Deputy Minister of Education and Sports Vesna Vucurovic in launching the new ‘It’s About Ability’ campaign television commercial in Cetinje, the Old Royal Capital of Montenegro on 22 July 2012.
The Barrier makes getting to school a daily ordeal for children in Abu Dis, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
EAST JERUSALEM, Occupied Palestinian Territory, 23 July 2012 – Karimeh Khatib wakes up every morning at 6 a.m., worried about her journey to work. She had been a teacher at the Comboni Convent pre-school centre in East Jerusalem for 20 years when, two years ago, her commute to school turned from a simple 10-minute walk to a daily trial involving escorting 4- and 5-year-olds through an Israeli-controlled checkpoint, with a bus ride at either end.
United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson visits programmes for adolescents, micro-enterprise
BISHOFTU, Ethiopia, 19 July 2012 – UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson visited the UNICEF-supported Bishoftu Youth Center and a micro-enterprise run by young people formerly living on the streets, on Monday, at the end of his visit to Ethiopia, where he attended the African Union Summit.
Daily hardship remains a way of life for many children in Somalia
BOSASO, Somalia, 19 July 2012 – A year after the declaration of famine in the Horn of Africa, 9-year-old Osman Adan Mohamed still faces daily hardship. Osman was displaced by the famine that hit parts of southern Somalia in 2011. Today he lives in the town of Bosaso and works on the street as a shoe shiner to support his mother and four siblings. He does not go to school.
UNICEF Ambassador Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United player Ben Amos call for end to abuse of vulnerable children in South Africa
NDWEDWE, South Africa, 18 July 2012 – Manchester United Manager and UNICEF United Kingdom Ambassador Sir Alex Ferguson took time out from the club’s pre-season tour of South Africa to learn about the impact of violence and abuse on the country’s orphans and to call on communities to play an active role in protecting vulnerable children.
Day care opens up the world for children with disabilites in Georgia
TBILISI, Georgia, 17 July 2012 – It is play time at the First Step Georgia day care centre for children with disabilities. There, about a dozen children of different ages choose games or activities while teachers keep a watchful eye over them. Some race around on tricycles or wheelchairs, some play with toys, while others simply sit or lie silently, lost in their own thoughts.
In north-western Pakistan, UNICEF provides safety and education for displaced children
Jalozai Camp, Pakistan, 17 July 2012 – Safia Bibi, 11, recalls the day her house in Khyber Agency was riddled with mortar shells and bullets.
In Fiji, a 16-year-old girl living with disabilities beats the odds to achieve her dreams
Suva, Fiji, 13 July 2012 – Sixteen-year-old Vivienne Bale always dreamed of becoming a professional table tennis player.
UNICEF supports efforts to eradicate child marriage in Niger
MARADI, Niger, 12 July 2012 – In the small village of Madarounfa, in eastern Niger, Sani Barmo, 81, and his second wife Hadisa Abdou, 40, were preparing for their daughter Zahara’s wedding. She is 12 and a half years old.
In Myanmar, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Jackie Chan visits children affected by human trafficking
YANGON, Myanmar, 11 July 2012 – 12-year-old Zaw* is a boy trying to build a future. Life has not always been kind to Zaw, who was trafficked as a young child to Malaysia and then forced to beg in the streets.
In Zimbabwe, the Education Transition Fund is rewriting Zimbabwe’s education system
Harare, Zimbabwe, 11 July 2012 – Using a machine resembling a typewriter, 15-year-old Kubulani Mbusa creates an embossed pattern on a white page. “This is my name,” he said proudly.
Namibia launches agenda with special emphasis on children living with disabilities
WINDHOEK, Namibia, 5 July 2012 – This year’s Day of the African Child was commemorated under the theme ‘The Rights of the Children with disabilities: The Duty to Protect, Respect, Promote and Fulfil’. The event served as a platform to launch Namibia’s National Agenda for Children (2012-2016), a document demonstrating and articulating the country’s commitment to the rights of its children.
UNICEF-supported study sheds light on gangs in Honduras
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, 2 July 2012 – More than 4,700 children and young people belong to gangs in Honduras. Social exclusion and lack of opportunities are some of the factors that drive them to join these dangerous groups.
Religious leaders address child poverty at the Global Network of Religions for Children Forum in Tanzania
DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, 27 June 2012 – Over 300 religious leaders, members of different spiritual traditions and faith communities, government officials, development partners, civil society organizations, and children from 64 countries reaffirmed their commitment to fight child poverty at the Fourth Forum of the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC).
Singer and UNICEF Regional Ambassador Oliver Mtukudzi visits Tanzania to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS and violence against children
DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, 26 June 2012 – Renowned Zimbabwean musician Oliver Mtukudzi recently made his first visit to Tanzania as a UNICEF Regional Ambassador for Eastern and Southern Africa. During his visit, he helped raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and child protection.
In Jordan, Syrian children are on the road to recovery after fleeing ongoing violence in their country
RAMTHA, Jordan, 19 June 2012 – Reem* and her six children fled their home in southern Syria in February after her husband Abood* was abducted by armed men. The children were between ages 5 and 18. “The children were scared and insecure when we first came to Jordan,” Reem said. “When they saw cars [like the one that took their father], they would start screaming.”
Insecurity in north-western Pakistan adds to mounting displacement pressure
JALOZAI, Pakistan, 20 June 2012 – More than 200,000 people – over half of them children – have been registered as displaced from Khyber Agency, in volatile north-western Pakistan, since January. They are joining families displaced by earlier insecurity, creating a total displaced population of close to 720,000 people in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
Child poverty amid Jerusalem's Old City splendor
EAST JERUSALEM, Occupied Palestinian Territory, 18 June 2012 – Few of the tourists who visit Jerusalem’s walled Old City know that meters from its iconic holy places, past a maze of narrow stone alleys and hidden stairways, thousands of children live in deep poverty.
In Pakistan, an uncertain future for displaced families in host communities
PESHAWAR, Pakistan, 15 June 2012 – Rafil Afridi rubs his eyes in a dusty village on the outskirts of Peshawar, the capital of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. The sound of rocks being crushed at the neighbouring gravel factory makes it difficult to concentrate.
In Uganda, promoting the rights of children with disabilities on the Day of the African Child
KAMPALA, Uganda, 15 June 2012 – Children with disabilities are the most marginalized and vulnerable group in Uganda. They are often abused, exploited and excluded by society, denying them of their right to health, protection and education.
Universal ratification and effective implementation of the Optional Protocols to the CRC close at hand
NEW YORK, USA, 31 May 2012 – The 25th of May 2012 marked the two-year anniversary of the campaign for universal ratification and implementation of the Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
Preventing family separation during mass displacement in DR Congo
GOMA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 29 May 2012 – When gunfire began in Bihambwe, Tuisenge had no choice but flee.
UNICEF report reveals drowning is a leading cause of child death in parts of Asia
LAP VO DISTRICT, Viet Nam, 22 May 2012 – It is every parent’s nightmare. Their child is missing. Friends and family are frantically searching. Minutes turn to hours. So it was for Mrs. Nguyen Thu Thao when her 9-year-old son Tong went missing from their village in the south of Viet Nam.
Fighting child sexual abuse in the Caribbean
KINGSTON, Jamaica, 18 May 2012 – A nine-year old boy was systematically raped by his pastor while his mother was at work; an 18-month old baby boy died of internal damage after being raped by his uncle; a little girl was infected with gonorrhoea, syphilis, herpes and HIV by an uncle who was in and out of prison.
UNICEF CEE/CIS Regional Director advocates for more investments in families to protect the rights of children in Bulgaria
SOFIA, Bulgaria, 16 May 2012 – Marie-Pierre Poirier, the Regional Director for Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CEE/CIS), met with President of Bulgaria Rosen Plevneliev, as well as top cabinet ministers, civil society officials and key partners, urging them to strengthen support for families in order to realize the rights of the most vulnerable children in Bulgaria.
Seam Zone keeps Palestinian children in limbo, disrupting education
AL SEEFER, Hebron, Occupied Palestinian Territory, 16 May 2012 – Every morning at dawn, Khalil* wakes up and hurries to class. While his school is a mere 15-minute walk from his house, the 14-year-old boy has no idea how long it will take him to get there. The Israeli-manned Beit Yatir checkpoint, which stands between his house and Imneizil School, can turn the 15-minute walk into an hour-long wait.
In Nepal, a collaboration between UNICEF and the Nepal Press Institute draws attention to the lives of women and children
KATHMANDU, Nepal, 11 May 2012 – Fifty journalists in Nepal have been awarded for highlighting the harsh realities facing the country’s children and women.
In southern Turkey, Syrian refugee children are caught between a harrowing past and an uncertain future
HATAY, Turkey, 10 May 2012 – In a quiet house outside Antakya in southern Turkey, parents fleeing 14 months of violence in Syria have set up a makeshift school for their children. The sounds of lessons in maths, English, Turkish and the Koran ring through the living rooms and bedrooms, and the garden has become a lively playground.
In Ghana, a cash transfer programme seeks to help the country's poorest families
TAMALE, Ghana, 10 May 2012 – Azara Abukari once prayed she would never again have to serve her family the brew of hot water, salt and pepper that had become their standby meal.
Reflections on the UN General Assembly Special Session on Children, ten years on
KAMPALA, Uganda, 8 May 2012 – It all began at the age of 15, after winning the title of ‘best debater’ in an inter-school debating competition. After winning the award, I received a call from UNICEF informing me that I had been selected to represent Ugandan children at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Children in New York in 2002. This marked the beginning of my journey as an advocate for the rights of children, youth and women.
UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Martin Mogwanja visits Bulgaria, highlighting the needs of children without parental care
SOFIA, Bulgaria, 8 May 2012 – UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Martin Mogwanja visited children in institutional and residential care in Bulgaria, learning more about the needs of the most vulnerable children, challenges to providing them with suitable care, and efforts to improve the systems that support them.
In Angola, a second chance for children in conflict with the law
LUBANGO, Angola, 8 May 2012 – Anton*, 15, helps take care of Fernando Sozinho, an elderly disabled man at a retirement home in Lubango, in the province of Huíla, in southern Angola.
Ten years after the historic UN Special Session on children, UNICEF marks progress in creating 'A World Fit for Children'
NEW YORK, USA, 7 May 2012 – This week, UNICEF commemorates the 10-year anniversary of the adoption of ‘A World Fit for Children’, a United Nations document committing the world’s nations to advancing the rights, welfare and dignity of children everywhere.
Swedish singer and songwriter Laila Bagge visits children living in the slums of Bangladesh
DHAKA, Bangladesh, 3 May 2012 – For Laila Bagge, the Swedish singer and songwriter, visiting the residents of T and T colony, a slum in Dhaka, was a life-changing experience. During her three-day trip, Ms. Bagge also visited a UNICEF-supported child-friendly space, a place for children to play and learn, and she spoke to children about their experiences growing up in urban poverty.
Displaced families find shelter in north-western Pakistan
NOWSHERA, Pakistan, 2 May 2012 – Safe now at a camp for displaced people, Jan Bibi recalls the horrific events that led her family to flee for their lives earlier this year.
'Believe in Zero' campaign aims to end violence against children in South Africa
PRETORIA, South Africa, 2 May 2012 – UNICEF is calling on all South Africans to unite behind the goal of reducing violence against children to zero.
Providing safe spaces for children on front lines of insecurity in north-western Pakistan
NOWSHERA, Pakistan, 30 April 2012 – Seven-year-old Rizwana has seen things that no child should ever have to experience.
Palestinian children and women fight distress in East Jerusalem
EAST JERUSALEM, Occupied Palestinian Territory, 30 April 2012 – The winding lanes of Silwan are among the most ancient and picturesque in East Jerusalem. But Silwan is also one of the most densely populated Palestinian neighbourhoods, where poverty and violence are part of daily life.
In post-flood Pakistan, 'Children's Fairs' entertain while promoting child rights and health
BADIN DISTRICT, Pakistan, 27 April 2012 – Thousands of flood-affected children and families have learned new life skills and enjoyed a much-needed reprieve from the stresses of post-flood life at a series of UNICEF-supported Children’s Fairs taking place in some of the worst flood-affected districts of Sindh province.
UNICEF supports Syrian refugees seeking safety in Lebanon
RAMEH, Lebanon, 24 April 2012 – With a sigh, Siham* glances around the small room that is now home to her, her husband and their five children.
In Libya, explosive remnants of war continue to maim and kill after conflict ends
NAFUSA MOUNTAINS, Libya, 23 April 2012 – “I didn’t feel anything when it happened,” said 9-year old Mahmoud from Zintan, in the Nafusa Mountains, describing the day his right hand was lost and his left hand severely injured by a bullet he found on the ground.
South Sudan marks International Mine Awareness Day, focuses on reducing landmine risks
JUBA, South Sudan, 18 April 2012 — Gatluak Kual dribbled the ball past two opponents and smiled before passing it to his teammate. To him, disability is not inability – with determination, he says, people can still achieve their future dreams.
Innovative delivery system improves the distribution of supplies to displaced families in DR Congo
MIKETO CAMP, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 12 April 2012 – The sun beats down mercilessly on the Miketo Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camp in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo), but the people still wait patiently for their names to be called.
Protection and assistance for children working in DR Congo's diamond mines
BAKWA TSHIMUNA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 10 April 2012 – “I loved to go to school, but when my father died I couldn’t pay the fees anymore. That’s why I came here,” said 15-year-old Niak, a front-line worker in one of Lupatapata’s many diamond exploration teams.
Mine-risk education protects children from explosives in Iraq
NEW YORK, USA, 10 April 2012 – On a rainy day in 2000, in a village outside Erbil, Iraq, 6-year-old Karzan Mukhlis was walking home when a blast tore through the town square, striking him and another boy.
Botswana's Parliament strengthens the implementation of the Children’s Act
GABORONE, Botswana, 9 April 2012 – The Parliament of Botswana has committed to strengthening the implementation of the national Children’s Act. The Children’s Act promotes and protects the rights of children in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
In Iran, peer training helps vulnerable children in conflict with the law
TEHRAN, Iran, 9 April 2012 – “I’m 14 and I’m here for your vacancy for a secretary,” said a shy girl in a low voice. “I’m sure you’re so fit for this job,” said the employer, touching the girl’s lap. Feeling uncomfortable the young girl excused herself, looking at her watch, but the employer grabbed her hand and asked her to stay. Then the girl then pulled away and hit the employer with her hand bag. The class roared with laughter and everyone clapped for the two budding actresses as they return to their seats.
In Chad, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow meets with refugees from Darfur waiting to go home
GOZ BEIDA, Chad, 4 April 2012 – “There were strangers that came,” said Aisha Mahamat, speaking slowly as if reliving the ordeal. “They raped women and killed men. They attacked all of the small villages around Tandusa, and the people fled, and they came to Tandusa for protection because it was the biggest village in the area. But the strangers found out they were there and they attacked. They burned down the whole village.”
In Benin, UNICEF-supported education and child rights programmes offer children a way out of exploitation
DJOUGOU, Benin, 3 April 2012 – Kabirou Sayo is only 15 years old, yet his life story could fill a book. “It happened at the end of a school day,” he explained when asked how he came to be a victim of child trafficking. ''I met a man called Baba who traffics in children. He tried to tell me the advantages of leaving for Nigeria.''
In Malawi, the launch of universal birth registration guarantees protections for children
LILONGWE, Malawi, 30 March 2012 – This week, Malawi celebrates the start of a universal and compulsory birth registration process.
UNICEF assists families in tent cities after Tropical Storm Washi
CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines, 28 March 2012 – Gina Ayop, 28, lives in a tent city on the outskirts of Cagayan de Oro with her husband and four children, including 3-year-old Mark Angelo. The family lost their home in Tibasak, Macasandig, during the flash floods that followed Tropical Storm Washi last December. They were lucky to escape with their lives.
In Morocco, the rape and death of an adolescent girl prompts calls for changes to the penal code
RABAT, Morocco, 28 March 2012 – The death of 16-year-old Amina Filali, in the old port town of Larache, Morocco , has prompted outrage around the world.
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow visits transit centres where children associated with armed conflict are getting a new start
BUKAVU, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 26 March 2012 – Under stormy skies, a hip hop crew known as the Flavour Boyz rap and harmonize to the beats of an African drum. Matching the weather, the boys’ lyrics tell stories of their tempestuous pasts – all five members of the crew had been recruited or abducted by armed forces or groups. They are now at a UNICEF-supported transit centre in Bukavu, recovering from their experiences.
In Uzbekistan, a UNICEF-supported child protection program helps reunite families
SAMARKAND, Uzbekistan, 15 March 2012 – In the city of Samarkand, two boys and their father sat at a table in their garden, sipping tea. On the other side of their father was his new wife.
In a historic judgment, the International Criminal Court convicts Thomas Lubanga Dyilo of recruiting children into armed conflict
NEW YORK, USA, 14 March 2012 – In a landmark ruling today, Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga Dyilo was convicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) of war crimes for recruiting children into his armed movement. The verdict is the first ever delivered by the ICC, the world’s only permanent, independent war crimes tribunal, since its establishment in 2002.
Children living in Nairobi's informal settlements lack access to basic services and opportunities
NAIROBI, Kenya, 14 March 2012 – As his peers in Korogocho, an informal settlement in Nairobi, leave for school, 15-year-old John Kinuthia sets off too. But instead of heading to school, he walks half a kilometre to the city’s largest dumpsite to eke out a living.
Helping children of Malaysia’s plantation workers get a quality education
LAHAD DATU, Malaysia, 12 March 2012 – Under the vast oil palm canopy of the Hap Seng plantation, on the eastern edge of Malaysian Borneo, Maria Rafael hacks away dead branches with her machete while supervising the progress of several other female migrant workers.
In Jordan, UNICEF and partners offer services to help refugee children recover from conflict in Syria
MA’AN, Jordan, 8 March 2012 – On a cold February day, Syrian refugee children and their parents gathered at the Jordan Hashemite Fund for Human Development (JOHUD) Centre, a UNICEF partner, in the southern Jordanian town of Ma’an.
Programmes offer assistance to children living in the violence-plagued slums of Caracas, Venezuela
CARACAS, Venezuela, 6 March 2012 – Every evening, as soon as the sun goes down, 14-year-old Fernando Herrera and his family lock all the doors to his house, lower the blinds and hunker down for another night of random shootings and violent fights in the street. Yet Fernando does not live in a war-torn country; he lives in a poor neighbourhood in the city of Caracas.
Youth helping children and families recover from Tropical Storm Washi in the Philippines
CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines, 6 March 2012 – Seventeen-year-old Kim Peter Galve tutors a group of young children in a child-friendly space at an evacuation centre in Cagayan de Oro, Philippines, one of the towns worst hit by Tropical Storm Washi (locally known as Sendong) last December. Over 130 families are living in very small quarters with little comfort or privacy.
Reaching the vulnerable Ik community of Uganda’s Karamoja Region
KARAMOJA REGION, Uganda, 5 March 2012 – Magdalena, 12, is eager to go to school. She dreams of becoming a nurse or a doctor one day, to serve her people when she grows up.
Getting at-risk children out of work and into school in the slums of Moradabad, India
MORADABAD, India , 29 February 2012 – From ages 8 to 10, Anas spent 10 hours a day, six days a week, working in a smoke-filled metalware workshop in the slums of Moradabad.
UNICEF launches flagship report in Mexico City, warns that cities are failing children
MEXICO CITY, Mexico, 29 February 2012 – UNICEF yesterday launched its flagship report, ‘The State of the World’s Children 2012: Children in an Urban World’ in Mexico City, warning that rapid urbanization is leaving millions of disadvantaged children behind. At a press conference in the Presidential Palace, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake and President of Mexico Felipe Calderón called for greater focus on children in slums and shantytowns who suffer from the greatest deprivations.
In Burundi, guaranteeing children's rights to protection and play
BUJUMBURA, Burundi, 28 February 2012 – Dozens of children are gathered on a vast green field in Maramvya, a district of Buterere in the suburbs of Bujumbura, the capital. The children, including Joseph, 7, Emelyne, 8, and Jean-Claude, 9, are indulging in a once rare activity: play.
In Ukraine, providing holistic health care to sexually exploited adolescents and other at-risk youth
MYKOLAYIV, Ukraine, 27 February 2012 – Anya* does not talk much about her teen years in Mykolayiv, one of the most populous cities in southern Ukraine . She desperately wants to forget the days of fighting with her grandfather, who was her only surviving relative after her parents died, and what happened after she was thrown out of the house.
In Bangladesh, a new UNICEF-supported initiative helps poor urban children
DHAKA, Bangladesh, 2 March 2012 – Twelve-year old Mohammad Faisal Hossain works to support his family of four – himself, his mother, younger sister and brother. To meet their needs, he holds down two jobs on the packed roads of the Bangladesh capital, Dhaka: selling newspapers in the early morning and working as a helping hand on a small minibus.
A second chance at childhood for exploited and vulnerable children in Benin
COTONOU, Benin, 24 February 2012 – Bread seller Honorine Noudjèmèdji, 14, zigzags deftly through Dantokpa, one of the biggest markets in Benin's commercial capital. Loaves are piled high on a tray on her head, at customers’ eye-level.
In Lagos, Nigeria, marginalized children face exploitation, trafficking and abuse
LAGOS, Nigeria, 1 March 2012 – Sex and drugs are readily available on Kuramo Beach, a stretch of sand along the Gulf of Guinea. Children play in the sand, not far from sex workers. Nearby, tough young men known as ‘area boys’ sit under battered beach umbrellas.
UNICEF launches flagship report focusing on urban children
UNICEF’s flagship publication, 'The State of the World’s Children 2012' (SOWC), says that almost half the world’s children now live in urban areas, and it’s calling for greater emphasis on identifying and meeting their needs.
A way home for children living and working on the streets of Rwanda
KIGALI, Rwanda, 21 February 2012 – Many children who had been living and working on the streets of Kigali are now returning home, thanks to the help of centres like Fidesco.
In Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, assisting children alone in the big city
ABIDJAN, Côte d'Ivoire, 21 February 2012 – After a fight with his father, 9-year-old Junior Coulibaly left his house in a huff. It was a Friday afternoon in mid-January 2011. Nine months would pass before he would see his father again.
In Guatemala, a child's abduction and death inspires stronger child protection laws
JALAPA, Guatemala, 10 February 2012 – On 16 December 2009, Guillermo López and his wife Maribel Agustín’s lives were changed forever. Their 4-year-old son, Keneth, went missing.
Podcast #52: Education is key to peace and social development
NEW YORK, USA, 9 February 2012 – Currently, more than 1.5 billion people live in fragile and conflict-affected states. Children living among armed conflict are subject to violence, deprived of basic needs and robbed of developmental opportunities.
Field diary: In Sudan, a long wait for the journey home to South Sudan
KOSTI, Sudan, 1 February 2012 – A raggedy doll is all that 18-year-old Sabina Saisa has left to remind her of her best friend, Jacqueline.
UNICEF aids restavek victims of abuse and exploitation in Haiti
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 31 January 2012 – In 2007, 10-year-old Larissa Saint-Claire (NAME CHANGED) lived quietly with her parents in Beaumont, in southwest Haiti, when a visit from one of her sisters changed her life.
'Full of Grace' photography exhibition celebrates children
WEST PALM BEACH, USA, 30 January 2012 – ‘Full of Grace’, a graceful, eclectic and evocative exhibition of more than 200 photographs, accompanied by sculptures and literary quotations, opened on 26 January at the Palm Beach Photographic Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. It is an exuberant celebration of the representation of children in photography over the past 150 years.
In Yemen, day care centres offer safe haven and education to Somali refugee children
ADEN, Yemen, 30 January 2012 – The voice of Miryam Mohammed, a 10-year-old Somali girl, echoed around the small rooms of her day care centre. She and the other children are singing the Somali national anthem.
In Qatar, forum calls for better inclusion of children with disabilities in humanitarian responses
DOHA, Qatar, 26 January 2012 – At the fifth annual International Shafallah Forum, held from 22 to 24 January in Doha, Dr. Rima Salah, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director (a.i.), stressed the need not to let children with disabilities be the forgotten victims of emergencies.
‘Humanitarian Action for Children 2012’ calls for continued focus on the Horn of Africa
NEW YORK, 26 January 2012 – The ongoing crisis in the Horn of Africa will remain a significant part of UNICEF’s global humanitarian response in the coming year, according to the ‘Humanitarian Action for Children 2012’ report, which launches tomorrow.
After flooding in the Philippines, teachers help students recover and resume studies
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines, 25 January 2012 – In City Central School, in Cagayan de Oro City, two teachers recently held their first day of classes since the devastating floods that swept through their community – even as their own futures looks uncertain.
In Benin, Goodwill Ambassador Angélique Kidjo promotes birth registration to protect children’s rights
COTONOU, Benin, 24 January 2012 – A legal identity is a critical right, one many children in Benin are denied. During a visit to her home country, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Angélique Kidjo, an internationally renowned singer, advocated for improvements in the birth registration system to guarantee this right for all children.
With EU and UNICEF support, Lesotho puts in place a social protection programme for the most vulnerable
MATSIENG, Lesotho, 18 January 2012 – Once, the royal village of Matsieng, in the Kingdom of Lesotho, was en-dowed with huge tracts of land, plentiful livestock, and people to work the land, recalled Mampho Tumane. It was a village where the elderly and children were well provided for, but this is not the case anymore, she said.
Partners work to bring peace to children associated with armed groups in DR Congo
BUKAVU, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 16 January 2012 – “I was 13 years old when the rebels came to my village. They didn’t ask questions. ‘Take your jacket and come, or we kill you,’” recounts Christian, 16.* “I stayed with them for three years, no thinking, just functioning.”
UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake lauds the role of women and children during Nepal visit
KATHMANDU, Nepal, 13 January 2012 – On his first visit to Nepal, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake lauded the role played by Nepalese women and children in trying to better their lives.
Over 1.2 million Libyan children return to school after months of conflict
TRIPOLI, Libya, 13 January 2012 – On 7 January, nearly a year after conflict broke out in Libya, more than 1.2 million children returned to school, many for the first time in many months.
Field diary: UNICEF prepares to help victims of conflict in South Sudan
PIBOR, South Sudan, 12 January 2012 – It was 7 a.m. when I boarded a UN MI8 helicopter with colleagues from the Human Rights and Child Protection section of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), as well as representatives from the South Sudan Human Rights Commission, the South Sudan Peace Commission, the World Food Programme, and media representatives from South Sudan Radio and Television.
At Bangladesh drop-in centre, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake visits a bank operated by vulnerable girls
DHAKA, Bangladesh, 11 January 2012 – Masuda, 10, eagerly greeted UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake at the gate of a five-story drop-in-centre, a safe haven for girls living and working on the streets of Dhaka.
Two years after the earthquake, victories for Haiti’s children
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 11 January 2012 – January 12, 2010, the day a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, is still fresh in the memory of Renold Telford, Haiti’s Director of Basic Education.
Voices of the most vulnerable children heard at Rwanda’s annual National Children’s Summit
KIGALI, Rwanda, 11 January 2012 – Once a year, the seats of Rwanda’s parliament are filled with children.
Taleem-ul-Amal project helps child labourers obtain an education in Pakistan
SIALKOT, Pakistan, 10 January 2012 – Sadness fills the eyes of 12-year-old Chand Khushi Mohammad as he recalls walking the streets, collecting garbage, near Sialkot, a city known for sporting goods manufacturing, in Pakistan’s Punjab Province.
In Haiti, improving care for children on the streets and in residential care
CAP HAITIEN, Haiti, 6 January 2012 – Almost every day, Father Stra walks around the city of Cap Haitien looking for boys on the streets who are ready to move to the sanctuary of the Don Bosco Centre.
UNICEF helps young people address and prevent sexual violence in DR Congo
KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 4 January 2012 – Despite increasing stability in many areas, violence still prevails in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Civilian populations continue to endure frequent small-scale attacks by armed groups and armed forces.
Protecting vulnerable, flood-affected children in the Philippines
ILIGAN CITY, Mindanao, Philippines, 3 January 2012 – Janella Delfino, 9, sat quietly on the front steps of the San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish Church in Barangay Hinaplanon, in Iligan City.
UNICEF in 2011: The year in review
NEW YORK, 30 December 2011 – From famine in the Horn of Africa to flooding in Pakistan and uprisings across the Middle East, 2011 was a challenging year for families in the developing world.
Vulnerable children struggle to cope with the aftermath of floods in Pakistan
BENAZIRABAD DISTRICT, Pakistan – 29 December 2011 – In the Quaid-e-Awam relief camp, 11-year-old Tariq Ali’s eyes are rimmed with shadows.
Displaced Syrian children in Jordan show signs of distress
RAMTHA, Jordan, 23 December 2011 – As I pull out my camera, Salwa looks at me and blurts out, “No, no pictures, please. Otherwise the police will slaughter us.” She is 5 years old.
Life-skills programme helps migrant children in China cope with urban dangers
BEIJING, China, 21 December 2011 – “Now I can have dinner with both mama and papa every night!” said 9-year-old Xue Siqi, smiling from ear-to-ear.
In Tanzania, religious leaders fight violence against children on the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children
DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, 15 December 2011 – Acrobatics, music and dancing delighted an audience of over 2,000 children in Dar es Salaam, part of a series of events commemorating the annual World Day of Prayer and Action for Children.
New UNICEF report examines the risks facing children online
FLORENCE, Italy, 13 December 2011 – A child’s first steps into a run-down Internet café in Benin can be a transformative experience, offering access to new friends on other continents, exploration of distant lands, and entertainments far beyond the traditional village scene.
Botswana commemorates the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
GABORONE, Botswana, 9 December 2011 – Sixteen years have passed since Botswana ratified the Convention on the Rights of a Child (CRC). To commemorate this anniversary, UNICEF organized an art fair for 50 children with disabilities. ‘Thari ya Bana – Reflections on the Children of Botswana 2011’, the second edition of a report on the situation of children in the country, was also launched to mark the occasion.
Safe PLaCES help flood-affected children and women prevent child marriage in Pakistan
SINDH PROVINCE, Pakistan, 6 December 2011: A new type of UNICEF integrated emergency facility is providing protection and assistance to tens of thousands of flood-displaced children and women in Pakistan.
Masala Boly’s story: Life as a United Nations Volunteer with UNICEF Burundi
GITEGA, Burundi, 2 December 2011 - It was during my experience as a volunteer in a Mexican orphanage that I realised something: I want to work with UNICEF. Now here I am, a few years later, with a university degree under my belt and lots of motivation for sale - I am a UN volunteer for UNICEF in Burundi and proud of it!
First inclusive film festival on child rights unveiled in Croatia
RIJEKA, Croatia, 2 December 2011 - For the first time in Croatia, visually and hearing-impaired children enjoyed screenings of more than 30 movies mostly produced for and by kids during a recent UNICEF-supported Child Rights Film Festival “Cinequity”.
A day care centre in Uzbekistan helps children living with HIV break their isolation
TASHKENT, Uzbekistan, 30 November 2011 - The room was filled with toys, books, pictures. Indeed, everything that could possibly stimulate a child was provided and the youngsters in the noisy play session were certainly responding.
Religious leaders gather to help improve the health of Angola’s children
KUITO, Angola, 29 November 2011 – This week 80 church leaders, civil society activists and government representatives from nine provincial districts descended on the central province of Bié to learn how simple, high-impact and affordable changes in behaviour can help improve the health and well-being of Angola’s children.
Olga’s story: Violence against women and children in Guatemala continues to devastate lives
GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala, 28 November 2011 - Every morning Olga Vasquez* would wake up wondering if she would live to see the next day. Isolated in her home, she suffered in silence at the hands of her father’s brutal wrath, trapped in an ever-escalating cycle of abuse. Olga would also witness her father beat her mother and her siblings on a regular basis. When her mother eventually fled, leaving her children behind, Olga focused on protecting her siblings from her father’s rage.
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Danny Glover highlights children's rights in Colombia
CARTAGENA, Colombia, 23 November 2011—In Colombia’s historic walled city of Cartagena, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Danny Glover is taking a horse and carriage ride.
Calle 13 lend their voices to the fight against human trafficking
NEW YORK, USA, 22 November 2011 – They broke records at the Latin American Grammy’s last week by sweeping 9 awards in a night , and now Calle 13 are breaking new ground with a campaign against human trafficking and exploitation.
In Uganda, world leaders focus on creating a safer future for children
KAMPALA, Uganda, 22 November, 2011—Florence Hadija Nalwooga, 13, walked quietly to the podium on November 19 to address the first-ever National Day of Prayer and Action for Children in Uganda.
Ancient autumn ritual brings joy and pride to Palestinian children
BALA’A, Occupied Palestinian Territory, 22 November 2011 - On the outskirts of Bala’a village in the northern West Bank, the smell of olives floats in the air as a soft Mediterranean breeze gently stirs the leaves of trees. Palestinian villagers have gathered here to harvest this ancient fruit, with the support of dozens of children brought from the UNICEF-supported Adolescent Friendly Spaces, funded by Sida, Danida and the German National Committee.
Podcast #49: On the anniversary of the CRC, children’s right to education remains a challenge
NEW YORK, USA, 21 November, 2011 – This year marks the 22nd anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Ratified by 193 states, the Convention has gained wide support worldwide and transformed the way children are treated around the globe. Yet children’s right to education as a fundamental human right remains a challenge – especially for those living in conflict areas.
UNICEF aims to make nutrition a national priority in Niger
Kollo, Niger, 17 November 2011 – In the Integrated Health Center of Kollo, South Niger, a few women holding their emaciated babies line up in front of the out-patient therapeutic feeding center (CRENAS). Zelika Marou has four children. Today, she brought her 11-month-old daughter, Fati Hama, for her weekly consultation.
UNICEF provides support to struggling families in Lesotho through cash transfers
MASERU, Lesotho, 16 November 2011 -The tremors of the global economic slow-down have reached Matiisetso Ntlale’s granary in the mountains of Lesotho. A half-full 25kg bag of corn, a head of cabbage and a near empty bottle of cooking oil, make up the entire contents of her storeroom. These should miraculously last her and her three grandchildren for the next three weeks as breakfast, lunch and supper.
UNICEF Child Protection Centres provide protective environment for street children in Pakistan
QUETTA, Pakistan, 14 November 2011 - For Nazdana, 15, the thought of playing with her friends outside used to fill her with anxiety. Whenever she would venture from the safety of her house in Quetta, the capital of Pakistan’s Balochistan province, she’d find herself subjected to the harassment of young men. Petrified, she and her friends would quickly run back into their houses, too afraid to stand up to the boys and ask them to stop their inappropriate and abusive behaviour.
UNICEF Child Friendly Spaces provide support to displaced children in Somalia
MOGADISHU, Somalia, 9 November 2011 - For hundreds of thousands of displaced Somali children, daily life is a mixture of fear and insecurity. Communities break apart, as one by one families leave their villages to flee ongoing conflict. If they survive the journey to Mogadishu, life is not much easier, as they are faced with the daily challenge of finding food and shelter.
Providing vital care for Rwanda’s vulnerable children
KIVUMU, Rwanda, 1 November 2011 – Perched high in the hills above Rwanda’s Lake Kivu, a project is transforming the lives of nearly 1,000 orphans and vulnerable children.
Singer Prudence Mabhena appointed UNICEF National Ambassador for Zimbabwe
HARARE, Zimbabwe, 31 October 2011 – As a child growing up in Victoria Falls, Prudence Mabhena experienced the rejection, abandonment and neglect that often characterizes the lives of children living with disabilities in Zimbabwe: She was abandoned by her parents and left in the care of her grandmother.
Swaziland convenes first national dialogue on violence against children in schools
MATSAPHA, Swaziland, 27 October 2011 – “Away with teachers who abuse children, away!” chanted Wilson Ntshangase, Minister of Education and Training, at a national dialogue on violence against children in and around schools – a problem pervasive in the country.
In the wake of the Libyan conflict, UNICEF provides support to traumatized children
BENGHAZI, Libya, 24 OCTOBER 2011 – Four-year-old Omar Salem lies in a hospital bed, his tiny body covered in scars. One freshly healed wound traces its way down the full length of his torso, serving as a permanent reminder of the day he almost died.
UNICEF aims to expand subsidy system to reach Mozambique’s most vulnerable children
GUARA GUARA, Mozambique, 21 October 2011 – The childhood of Filiphe Luis Marime, 15, ended three years ago when his mother died after a long illness. He was left responsible for his younger siblings, one of whom was just an infant.
Goodwill Ambassador Angélique Kidjo visits an innovative programme for victims of child abuse in Mexico
MEXICO CITY, Mexico, 20 October 2011 – On her recent tour of the Iztapalapa Paediatric Hospital in Mexico City, internationally acclaimed singer and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Angélique Kidjo swept through corridors, scooping children into her arms, delighting patients and parents alike.
In Benin, care centre offers a path away from poverty
PARAKOU, Benin, 19 October 2011 – Two years ago, Eric N’Koue was nearly sold by his father to child traffickers. Fortunately, he was intercepted by police and brought to the UNICEF-supported Saint Joseph Centre, a facility providing care and opportunities for vulnerable children in the eastern city of Parakou.
UNICEF and partners focus on the prevention of sexual abuse against girls in Mozambique
MAPUTO, Mozambique, 19 October 2011 – When Linda*, 16, entered into an agreement with her well respected 40-year-old teacher to exchange sex for good grades, she had no understanding of the inherently exploitive nature of the relationship.
UNICEF-supported programme aims to rehabilitate ex-gang members in Honduras
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, 12 October 2011 - Oscar, 25, has lived a good deal of his childhood and adolescence as a member of gang 18, one of the biggest and most violent currently operating in Honduras. He was barely nine years old when he dropped out of school and joined the gang. Alone in the world, his fellow gang members became his family.
Experts urge international community to improve the standard of care for vulnerable children
NEW YORK, United States, 11 October 2011 – Sterling Vincent was just five years old when she was separated from her family in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. A family found the little girl wandering in the rubble and took her in. When asked, Sterling was unable to provide information about her parents or the location of her home.
Community-based support reaches South Africa’s most vulnerable and marginalised children
GAUTENG, South Africa, 11 October 2011 - The ‘model’ of community-based childcare known as Isibindi, was developed by the National Association of Child Care Workers (NACCW), in response to the impact of AIDS and poverty on South Africa’s children. Isibindi has proved to be a successful method of ensuring community-led support for orphaned and vulnerable children - and one of the reasons for this is its consideration of all a child needs.
Ugandan children work with community leaders to end violence in schools
KAMPALA, Uganda, 30 September 2011 - Emmanuel, 17, from Masindi District, Uganda, sits contemplatively near a window, with an expression of quiet determination on his face. Bathed in the golden light spilling forth through the pane, his academic journey thus far has been anything but sunny.
New national action plan benefits Zimbabwe’s most vulnerable children and families
HARARE, Zimbabwe, 30 September 2011 - After both his parents died of AIDS-related illnesses in 2002, Stephen*, 13, who is HIV-positive, went to live with his older brother, but soon ran away to the dangerous streets of Hatcliffe after enduring months of abuse at the hands of his sister-in-law.
In Côte d’Ivoire, a young rape victim regains self-confidence with UNICEF support
BOUAKÉ, Côte d’Ivoire, 28 September 2011 – The first day of school should be an exciting time, full of expectancy and hope. Sadly, for young Tamira* it only manages to bring back the horrifying memory of a brutal rape she endured last October, just steps away from her grandmother’s house.
Five more nations sign international accord to stop children from being forced into conflict
NEW YORK, USA, 27 September 2011 - Five more nations have officially committed to ending the phenomena of children in armed conflict by signing the Paris Commitments. The inclusion of Angola, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Costa Rica and San Marino means that 100 nations have now pledged to do everything they can to protect children from being forced into conflict.
Five more nations sign international accord to stop children from being forced into conflict
NEW YORK, 27 September 2011 - Five more nations have officially committed to ending the phenomena of children in armed conflict by signing the Paris Commitments. The inclusion of Angola, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Costa Rica and San Marino means that 100 nations have now pledged to do everything they can to protect children from being forced into conflict.
UNICEF provides an underage miner with a second chance in DR Congo
KATANGA PROVINCE, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 21 September 2011 – Daniel, 16, has his life back after three years of working in a copper mine located in the southern section of the Democratic Republic of the Congo – one of the worst jobs on earth.
20 Haitian children turn their stories into movies, inspiring others in the process
KENSCOFF, Haiti, 19 September 2011 – For one week, in a remote community overlooking Port-au-Prince, 20 children got together for a workshop to turn their stories into movies and make them known to a world- wide audience through the web.
Liberia rebuilds education system after years of civil war
GANTA TOWN, Liberia, 16 September 2011 – War, bullets and bloodshed – words which generations of Liberians are still more familiar with than books or schools. It’s only been eight years since the country knew peace; the scars from its paralyzing 14-year civil war remain visible as its people try to heal. Today, the government is working to rebuild the infrastructure that was completely destroyed – large parts of Liberia doesn’t have roads and millions are living without basic access to water, healthcare or electricity. But ask any Liberian what they need most and the answer is the same – education.
Displaced youth in South Yemen cope with the effects of war
ADEN, Yemen, 15 September 2011 - It is the fourth day of Ramadan in Aden, a port city in the south of Yemen, and the temperature has reached over 40 degrees centigrade. Although it is summer holiday, the yard of Belqis School in Aden is full of children. Some play under the sun, while others attend educational sessions in a tent organized by UNICEF. The children are from families displaced by fighting in the restive region of Abyan between government troops and militants suspected of links to al-Qaeda.
In Pakistan, monsoon floods return to new areas causing widespread devastation
BADIN DISTRICT, SINDH PROVINCE, Pakistan, 14 September 2011 - Like déjà vu, exceptionally heavy monsoon rains that caused an unprecedented disaster in Pakistan during 2010 have returned with a vengeance to hit the southernmost part of the country.
Aden’s story revisited: One child’s journey of survival from Somalia to Kenya
DADAAB, Kenya, 14 September 2011 – Six weeks ago, a three-year-old boy’s desperately worried father brought him to the nutrition stabilization centre at the Hagadera refugee camp here in Dadaab, north-eastern Kenya. Like many children arriving at the UNICEF-supported facility, he was close to death – malnourished, dehydrated and suffering from respiratory infections.
New law prohibits practice of female genital mutilation in Guinea-Bissau
BISSAU, Guinea-Bissau, 13 September 2011 - This past June, the National Popular Assembly (ANP) of Guinea-Bissau approved a law prohibiting female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM/C) nationwide. The controversial law had been on the table for discussion for 16 years, before it was ultimately approved by 64 votes in favour to 1 vote against.
Women activists say 'no' to sexual and gender-based violence in Chad
LAI, Chad, 7 September 2011 – A brave mother, Hadjara Oumarou, sat under a tree with her estranged husband, Oumar Sidik, outside their local village courthouse here in Chad’s Tandjilé District. Their 10-year-old daughter Amira (not her real name) sat between them.
School clubs provide normalcy for children affected by unrest in Syria
DAMASCUS, Syria, 6 September 2011 – Civil unrest has disrupted normal life in Syria since mid-March, taking a serious emotional toll on children, in particular. Between witnessing violence and having their family lives and routines upended, children are paying a heavy price.
Children's Act provides new tools for protecting child rights in Zanzibar
STONE TOWN, Zanzibar, Tanzania, 25 August 2011 – The President of Zanzibar, Dr. Ali Mohamed Shein, has signed into law a comprehensive Children’s Act aimed at providing better protection for the rights and welfare of children living in this semi-autonomous island region of the United Republic of Tanzania.
UNICEF-supported initiative aims to raise awareness about child marriage in India
MALDA, India, 19 August 2011 – In Hosnabad Diyara village in Malda District, in the eastern Indian state of West Benga, Anita Puddar, 15, holds back tears as her father plans to marry her off. Anita’s mother shouts, trying to convince the father to change his mind. After a while the police come and set the father straight.
In Gaza, poverty forces children to choose between survival and school
GAZA STRIP, Occupied Palestinian Territory, 17 August 2011 - Ayman, 15, lives in Khuza’a, an impoverished village in southern Gaza, where extreme poverty has dramatically increased due to the blockade. For Ayman, whether or not he’s able to go to school each day is determined by how much food is left in the cupboards.
In DR Congo, fundraiser aims to raise US$4 million for provincial child protection plan
LUBUMBASHI, Democratic Republic of the Congo,16 August 2011— On June 24, a fundraising gala organized following this year’s Day of the African Child gathered over 100 local authorities, development partners, businesspeople, parents and children around one shared goal – making child protection a tangible issue in Southern DR Congo.
Survey shows need for action on violence against children in Tanzania
DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, 9 August 2011 – Violence against children is a serious human rights, social and public health issue in Tanzania, as in many other parts of the world. Violence erodes the strong foundation that children need to lead healthy and productive lives.
With help from UNICEF and community volunteers, families start over in Burundi
BUBANZA, Burundi, 21 July 2011 – When Etienne returned from 12 years spent as an illegal refugee in Tanzania, he met his son Denis for the first time (names changed to protect family privacy). In 1999, before Denis was born, Etienne had been forced to leave Burundi, fleeing from escalating violence in his home province of Bubanza, which was hard hit by the country’s 15-year civil war.
Creating a safe environment for children in divided schools in Bosnia and Herzegovina
NEW YORK, USA, 13 July 2011 – Many schools in Bosnia and Herzegovina still reflect the ethnic tensions that triggered protracted armed conflict in the region in the mid-1990s. They are divided into ‘two-schools under one roof’ and mono-ethnic schools, where children are segregated based on their ethnicity or nationality in mixed regions.
'Independence' baby signals the birth of a new nation in South Sudan
JUBA, South Sudan, 13 July 2011 – Early on the morning of 9 July, a choir of shrieking women echoed in unison from the maternity ward of Juba Teaching Hospital in South Sudan. But the sound from the ward was not of women in pain. Instead, they were calling out together in joy.
UN Security Council adopts new resolution to protect schools and hospitals during conflict
NEW YORK, 12 July 2011 – UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake has welcomed a United Nations Security Council resolution aimed at increasing efforts to protect schools and hospitals from armed attack.
Libya’s other crisis: 2 million children at physical and emotional risk as conflict drags on
BENGAZHI, Libya, 12 July 2011 – After months of media coverage of the conflict in Libya, one could be forgiven for thinking that the country is devoid of children. The vast majority of images in the media feature soldiers on the front lines, a defiant Muammar Gaddafi, NATO fighter jets streaking across the skies, and queues of mostly male migrant workers crossing the borders into Tunisia and Egypt.
UNICEF report highlights need for doubling child budget in Bangladesh
DHAKA, Bangladesh, 30 June 2011 – The children filed one by one to the front of the room, each grabbing hold of the microphone and, before a large audience, pausing thoughtfully before asking questions to the awaiting panel. “I have no parents and I live in a shelter,” said 13-year-old Mohammad Shajun. “There are many children like me. We want to know what the Government is doing to help us.”
Field Diary: Life as a UNICEF Emergency Coordinator in Yemen
HARADH, Yemen, 29 June 2011 – It’s noon and we are in a UNICEF-supported school in Haradh, north-western Yemen, close to the Saudi border. The bell in the schoolyard has just rung, telling more than 1,000 students that it’s time for recess.
Displaced by political conflict, Ivorian child refugees attend school at Liberia's Bahn camp
NIMBA COUNTY, Liberia, 24 June 2011 – Forty-year old Philippe Cheugui used to teach history and geography at a school in Danane, a town in western Côte d’Ivoire. He was a successful teacher and public spokesperson, an inspiration to many.
Oliver Mtukudzi unveiled as UNICEF Regional Goodwill Ambassador for Eastern and Southern Africa
HARARE, Zimbabwe, 23 June 2011 – Through his powerful lyrics, renowned Zimbabwean musician Oliver Mtukudzi has spoken out against stigma, discrimination and abuse of children.
UNICEF Executive Board eyes gender equality, child protection and urban safety
NEW YORK, USA, 23 June 2011 – A trio of interconnected issues – gender equality, child protection and urban safety – rounded out the agenda at yesterday’s meeting of the UNICEF Executive Board in New York.
Delegates gather in New York to promote and protect the rights of children with disabilities
NEW YORK, USA, 20 June 2011 – A distinguished set of experts and advocates on the rights of children with disabilities convened at UN Headquarters last Friday to discuss promoting and protecting the rights of children with disabilities.
In Côte d’Ivoire, First Lady celebrates the Day of the African Child with 500 children
ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, 17 June 2011 – The First Lady of Côte d’Ivoire, Dominique Ouattara, joined more than 500 children from different districts of Abidjan to celebrate the Day of the African Child by playing games and listening to artistic performances.
In Niger, young first-time photographers see child rights from a new viewpoint
NIAMEY, Niger, 15 June 2011 – For the majority of the 20 children attending the UNICEF workshop led by long-time UNICEF photographer Giacomo Pirozzi, it was the first time they had ever gotten close to a camera.
Strengthening child protection systems to reduce violence against children in Tanzania
HAI DISTRICT, Tanzania, 14 June 2011 – Child protection teams in the Kilimanjaro Region are joining forces to combat violence against children and ensure young people are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.
Disability Rights Convention distributed in Braille, audio and sign language in Montenegro
CETINJE, Montenegro, 13 June 2011 – Six children with visual and hearing impairments have received the first copies in the Balkans of the child-friendly version of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Braille, audio and sign language.
Young Bolivians on working in one of the world's most dangerous mines
POTOSÍ, Bolivia, 11 June 2011 – Thirteen-year-old Agustin Leandro's life revolves around mining. He lives in a shack right outside the entrance to a mine shaft at the famous Cerro Rico mine in the city of Potosí, where he worked two hard years digging for ore from the age of nine.
UNICEF supports rebuilding and reconciliation efforts in DR Congo
DONGO, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 9 June 2011 – "Children are the first victims of this conflict. We have a shared responsibility to build a better future worthy of them,” said UNICEF Representative in DR Congo Pierrette Vu Thi on a visit to Dongo in north-western Equateur province this week.
UNICEF co-hosts consultations on first-ever global standards for child-friendly businesses
NEW YORK, USA, 7 June 2011 – Business leaders and civil society representatives met in London and Delhi in May for consultations on setting the first-ever global standards for child-friendly business practices. A set of Children’s Rights and Business Principles (CRBP) will be launched in November based on these and other consultations, which are giving stakeholders an active role in shaping and developing the guidelines.
At Japan global meeting on development goals, UNICEF Executive Director highlights equity
TOKYO, Japan, 6 June 2011 – Reaching the world’s poorest and most disadvantaged children and families is the need of the hour. That was the overarching message conveyed by Executive Director Antony Lake late last week at a meeting hosted by the Government of Japan and organized by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the UN Development Programme, the World Bank and UNICEF.
In the city of Misrata, children bear the brunt of the ongoing Libyan conflict
MISRATA, Libya, 6 June 2011 – On a hospital bed in the besieged Libyan city of Misrata, five-year-old Malak Al-Shami flicks through pictures of her brother and sister on her father’s laptop. Three weeks ago the three children were asleep at home when a rocket smashed through the ceiling of their house.
Fifth Global Partners Forum looks to more support for HIV- and AIDS-affected children
NEW YORK, USA, 3 June 2011 – More than 16 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS since the epidemic began. The majority of them are from sub-Saharan Africa, the world’s poorest region.
UNICEF radio project gives voice to young Nigerians
LAGOS, Nigeria, 1 June 2011 – Disenfranchised children in Nigeria have been given a unique opportunity to exercise their right to expression through a UNICEF-supported youth radio project.
Families who escaped violence in Libya face new dangers in Tunisian camp
NEW YORK, USA, 31 May 2011 – Their tents have been torched, their belongings looted and a temporary school for their children destroyed. Staying out in the open, amidst the charred remains of all they had left in the world, refugees in Tunisia’s Shousha camp are living in the shadow of fear and uncertainty.
Teaching Libyan children the devastating effects of explosive remnants of war
BENGHAZI, Libya, 31 May 2011 – Around 30 young boys are hovering expectantly outside a community centre. They peer over each other’s shoulders to try to get a better look at the cardboard boxes filled with pictures.
Sylvain's story: A former child soldier on the road to a new life in Rwanda
KIGALI, Rwanda, 27 May 2011 – At the Lake Muhazi Centre, an hour’s drive from the Rwandan capital, 30 adolescent boys have come together for a three-month course that offers counselling, education, recreational activities and vocational training. These are not your average young men – they used to be child soldiers in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Child injuries highlight devastating effects of conflict in Libya
BENGHAZI, Libya, 24 May 2011 – Ayman Ali, 14, is lying on a stretcher bed in the medical tent of a boat arriving into Benghazi’s port from Misrata. Both his wrists are heavily bandaged and his eyes stare out ahead of him.
Child-friendly spaces provide refuge for families in war-torn Libya
BENGHAZI, Libya, 20 May 2011 – Etaj, 11, and Hanni, 12, (not their real names), are taking their drawing very seriously amid the surrounding clatter of chairs and chatter of other children.
Universal ratification of Optional Protocols on child rights within reach
NEW YORK, USA, 18 May 2011 – On the first anniversary of a campaign for universal ratification of the two Optional Protocols to the Convention of the Rights of the Child, advocates held a forum in New York earlier this week on enacting legislation to protect all children from violence and exploitation by 2012.
UNICEF provides relief for families fleeing the Libyan conflict at a transit camp in Tunisia
RAS JDIR, Tunisia, 11 May 2011 – At first glance, it is difficult to imagine that Fatmah, 15, a native of Niger, is already a mother of two, though early marriages are not uncommon among Nigeriens.
A community centre inspires an adolescent girl to become an agent of change in Panama
PANAMA CITY, Panama, 5 May 2011 – Dalys Perez, 17, was seeking a positive influence in her life after her mother went to prison. Living in El Chorillo, a crime-ridden neighbourhood of Panama City, it was difficult to escape from violence. Then Dalys found her way to Movimiento Nueva Generación, a community-based organization that has changed her life.
Psycho-social support helps heal a young family at the Egypt-Libya border
SALLOUM, Egypt, 29 April 2011 – Adam (not his real name), his wife, mother-in-law and four young daughters fled the Libyan city of Benghazi late last month.
In Côte d’Ivoire, schools re-open slowly in wake of post-election violence
ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, 29 April 2011 – This week schools have slowly started to re-open in Côte d’Ivoire’s largest city, Abidjan, and across the country. Many challenges remain.
Marcell's story: Growing up in poverty in the United States of America
CAMDEN, USA, 29 April 2011 – Growing up in the one of the most dangerous cities in the United States of America, Marcell Jenkins, 12, never ventures more than a few blocks from his home alone.
Providing psycho-social support for displaced children in southern Tunisia
DEHIBAT, Tunisia, 27 April 2011 – One month ago, Marwa, 11, was a fifth grade student at Nafousa school in western Libya, But when fighting came closer to her home in Nalut, schools closed and she was forced to stay home. Recent threats of shelling of her town left Marwa and her family with no other option but to join thousands of Libyans who have fled to neighbouring Tunisia.
Adolescent clubs empower young girls to resist early marriage in India
DIBRUGARH, India, 13 April 2011 – Rumi Hemrom, 13, and her friend, Seema, 14, attend the same adolescent girls’ club in their local village. The result is a bond that’s changed the course of Seema’s life.
Report by UN agencies highlights food crisis in Democratic People's Republic of Korea
NEW YORK, USA, 7 April 2011 – The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is running out of food. About a quarter of the population – some 6 million people – don’t have enough to eat, according to a new report by UN agencies. Nearly a million of them are children under the age of five.
At the Tunisia-Libya border, relief for families heading home
RAS JDIR, Tunisia, 4 April 2011 – At first glance, Laika’s smile and those of her six children are eye-catching as they enter a tent in the Ataawan transit camp on the Tunisia-Libya border.
An adolescent girl maintains hope for a brighter future in earthquake-affected Haiti
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 30 March 2011 – It’s late afternoon and dark clouds hover, promising rain in the Haitian capital. Elisabeth Lambert, 16, joins her sister and a girlfriend for a walk through their neighbourhood, along streets still strewn with crushed cars and the rubble of collapsed buildings.
UNICEF supports child-friendly spaces on Tunisia-Libya border for children displaced by conflict
RAS JDIR, Tunisia, 28 March 2011 – Samia (not her real name), 7, is holding hands with other children as they move in a circle, singing a song in a child-friendly centre located in a medium size tent in the Shousha transit camp.
UNICEF launches video spot warning of the dangers of landmines
NEW YORK, 25 March 2011 – UNICEF has released a new public service announcement (PSA) about the dangers posed by landmines.
Shelters for women and girls in Afghanistan
HERAT, Afghanistan, 14 March 2011 – No more than nine years old, she was taken from mother’s home to her husband, a man 14 years older than her. All she could take with her was a small doll she had made out of the cloth of her sister’s wedding dress.
UNICEF Executive Director focuses on ending polio and violence during DR Congo visit
GOMA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 7 March 2011 – “This vaccination will help my daughter to grown up strong and healthy,” said Aminata, a young Congolese mother. “It seems so simple and amazing.” Last week, while UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake was visiting Kinshasa, the capital of DR Congo, Aminata brought her three-year-old daughter to be vaccinated against polio at the Burumba Health Centre there.
Child Protection Advocates provide a safety net for vulnerable Somali children
HARGEISA, Somalia, 7 March 2011 – If it wasn’t for Nimo Daher, a Child Protection Advocate in one of the settlements for displaced people in Hargeisa, a city in Somaliland, baby Hussein (not his real name) would have likely suffered neglect and abandonment.
UNICEF-supported Juvenile Justice Court marks first year of work in DR Congo
LUBUMBASHI, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 3 March 2011 – For the first time in DR Congo, children in conflict with the law now have access to justice.
'Every Child Needs a Family' child-protection campaign begins in Armenia
YEREVAN, Armenia, 28 February 2011 – Last week, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Maxim Vengerov, a world renowned violinist and conductor, announced the start of the ‘Every Child Needs a Family’ campaign during a master class held for several young artists from the UNICEF Children’s Chamber Orchestra while in Armenia.
Psycho-social support for children caught in violence on Egypt's streets
CAIRO, Egypt, 22 FEBRUARY 2011 – UNICEF has launched a psycho-social support programme for children who were affected by violence during the uprising in Egypt in recent weeks.
UNICEF aims to place further emphasis on children’s issues in Tunisia
TUNIS, Tunisia, 17 February 2011 – Hamza lives in Sidi Hcine, a working class neighborhood in the outskirts of Tunis. He is working at the fish market in central Tunis, on a weekday, at a time when he should be in school.
Field diary: Fighting child trafficking on Haiti’s border
PORT-AU-Prince, Haiti, 16 February 2011 - It’s eight in the morning. We are the first to arrive at the meeting point in Ouanaminthe, the most northern border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, for a patrol of non-official border points. This patrol was organised by the UNICEF-supported Haitian Police’s Brigade de Protection des Mineurs. Unfortunately, these patrols do not take place every day. A limited number of agents at the border must respond to numerous emergencies and prevention of child trafficking is not always a priority.
In Rwanda, centre provides a refuge for victims of domestic violence
KIGALI, Rwanda, 15 February 2011 - For 17 years Mary was married to a man who emotionally and physically abused her. She first came to the Isange One Stop Centre in October of 2009, after having been recently beaten by her husband and left with a badly broken arm. At the time, she was so traumatized she could not speak, but now at 32, buouyed by the love of her four children and essential support from the centre, she is doing decidedly better.
Residential care centre provides a refuge for street children in Cap-Haitian
CAP-HAITIAN, Haiti, 15 February 2011 – This city north of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, was relatively untouched by the earthquake of January 2010. The sleepy port town’s buildings remain intact. Merchants, government workers and labourers go about their daily business. But nonetheless, the effects of the earthquake are here to be seen.
UNICEF helps reintegrate former child soldiers into local communities in DR Congo
DUNGU, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 11 February 2011 – This year has brought joy to the family of a woman named Charlotte here in eastern DR Congo. Raul, her 14-year old nephew, has returned home after a long ordeal.
'City of Joy' assists and empowers survivors of sexual violence in DR Congo
BUKAVU, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 9 February 2011 – Under a blue sky, the air is filled with women’s laughter and songs. It is the perfect setting for the opening of ‘City of Joy,’ a joint project of UNICEF and the non-governmental organization V-Day, providing a safe haven for survivors of sexual violence.
UNICEF and partners work to protect vulnerable children at Haiti's border
ANSE-À-PITRES, Haiti, 3 February 2011 – Two years ago, when Winston was 12, his mother remarried. His stepfather didn’t want to look after him, and Winston was left out on the street. It is not an uncommon story in Haiti.
Child Assembly ensures a voice for youth affected by crises in Swat, Pakistan
SWAT DISTRICT, Pakistan, 2 February 2011 – Seventh-grade student Malalai Yousafzai, 13, confidently chaired a session of the Child Assembly held recently in the Swat District of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. Participants in the assembly “voice their concerns about child-rights issues and present practical solutions to address these concerns,” Malalai explained.
UNICEF advocates for the rights of young African migrants stranded in Yemen
HARADH, Yemen, 1 February 2011 – “Please form a queue and wait until it is your turn,” says the blue-capped official from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), who manages the registration of African migrants at the departure centre in Haradh, a dusty border town in north-western Yemen.
UNICEF helps protect vulnerable Haitian children in residential care centres
PORT-AU- PRINCE, 24 January 2011 – After the January 2010 earthquake – indeed, even before – some impoverished Haitian families chose to send their children to residential care centres in hopes of giving them a better life. But as the story of Amelie demonstrates, these hopes were not always met.
Two districts in northern Ethiopia declare an end to female genital cutting
AFAR, Ethiopia, 20 January 2011 – An official declaration marking the abandonment of female genital cutting was issued recently in the Amibara and the Awash-Fentale districts of Ethiopia’s Afar Region.
'Not My Life' filmmaker says modern slavery is a children's issue
NEW YORK, USA, 19 January 2011 – A feature-length documentary that exposes the brutal reality of human trafficking, and its disproportionate impact on children, has its world premiere in New York tonight.
UNICEF supports a hospital's mobile clinic for survivors of sexual violence in DR Congo
BUKAVU, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 18 January 2011 – Maria, 20, whispers as she recounts being raped by soldiers two days before Christmas.
Panellists discuss working together to prevent sexual violence in Haiti
NEW YORK, USA, 11 January 2011 – Maricia Jean was raped and thrown into jail. Her son was brutally murdered, but she never made it to his funeral. She lived in hiding, fearing for her life and that of her remaining family members. And yet she is alive and taking action.
Income-generating programme keeps quake-affected families together in Haiti
LEOGANE, Haiti, 6 January 2011 – Far from the congested capital of Haiti lies Leogane, a provincial town that was near the epicentre of the January 2010 earthquake, which claimed more than 220,000 lives. Scenes of devastation still characterize the once-bustling seaside municipality.
In Senegal, Goodwill Ambassador Angélique Kidjo addresses violence in schools
DAKAR, Senegal, 20 December 2010 – UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Angélique Kidjo, known throughout West Africa and around the world for her powerful singing voice, urged students at a Dakar elementary school to speak up about what is often a silent crime: violence in schools.
UNICEF supports Uganda's committment to fight violence against women and children
MUNYONYO, Uganda, 10 December 2010 - "Today we are starting a three-day journey for creating a shared vision about a Ugandan society in which women and children live with no fear, in dignity and to their full potential."
In Kazakhstan, Sir Roger Moore advocates for rights of children with disabilities
NEW YORK, USA, 10 December 2010 – In a special video message marking the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Sir Roger Moore called for better support for children with disabilities.
Young people celebrate child rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
JERUSALEM, 7 December 2010 – Whirling and stamping, his feet carrying him through the steps of the traditional Palestinian ‘Dabkeh’ dance, Hamoudeh Rantisi, 11, smiles out at the audience.
Child-friendly centres help young victims of floods and conflict in north-western Pakistan
KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA PROVINCE, Pakistan, 29 November 2010 – The floodwaters may have receded in Dera Ishmail Khan district’s Band Koray village, but the troubles of families returning home have multiplied. Here in north-western Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, the situation remains dire for millions who have lost what little they had.
UNICEF psycho-social teams bring relief to Palestinian children in East Jerusalem
EAST JERUSALEM, 22 November 2010 – In the West Bank and Gaza Strip, military occupation sets the tone of daily life. Children of all ages must cope with violence, confinement, lack of opportunity and economic hardship.
In Yemen, abuse at home can lead to life on the street
SANA’A, Yemen, 19 November 2010 – Life on the street can be very hard, especially if, like Khaled, you are only 16 years old and have no money and nowhere to go. For this teenager, however, anything seemed better than living at home with his family.
UNICEF trains social workers to help Uzbek families provide for vulnerable children
TASHKENT, Uzbekistan, 18 November 2010 – In a suburb of the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, social worker Elena Vorobyova enters an apartment block in a quiet neighbourhood to visit a family that has endured a tragedy from which they are now recovering – with the help of social workers trained in a UNICEF-supported programme.
Senegalese girls forced to drop out of school and work as domestic help
DAKAR, Senegal, 16 November 2010 - When she was eight years old, Aisatou Ba quit school and began working as a maid. Though she begged her parents to let her stay in school, the economic pressure on the family proved too strong. The Senegalese teenager has been cleaning houses and cooking in restaurants instead of studying textbooks and learning arithmetic for the past seven years.
UNICEF responds to unexploded ordnance threat in aftermath of Pakistan flood crisis
KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA, Pakistan, 9 November 2010 – Catastrophic flash floods have scarred the lives of Tayyab, 4, and his family in unimaginable ways. His father, Mohammad Aslam, is a small farmer in the remote village of Sadra Sharif, located in north-western Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.
Religious leaders gather at UNICEF to discuss their role in ending violence against children
NEW YORK, USA, 4 November 2010 – On a chilly, downcast November afternoon earlier this week, distinguished religious leaders from the Executive Committee of Religions for Peace, an international, multi-religious coalition, convened at UNICEF headquarters in New York for a decidedly uplifting purpose: to discuss the important role that religious communities can play in eliminating all forms of violence against children around the world.
Ethiopian short film wins UNICEF Prize at international contest in Japan
TOKYO, Japan, 3 November 2010 – An Ethiopian TV series that featured a short film about a young woman who challenges harmful practices has won the UNICEF Prize at an international film contest in Japan. The Whiz Kids Workshop film, entitled ‘Involve Me – Yemeserach,’ highlights children’s work in addressing issues such as exploitation and early marriage.
Reintegrating 'restavek' children with their parents in post-earthquake Haiti
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 3 November 2010 – For the children at Foyer l’Escale, a UNICEF-supported children’s shelter, performance is a form of therapy.
Time is running out for marooned flood victims in a district of Pakistan's Sindh Province
DADU DISTRICT, Pakistan, 2 November 2010 – The recent floods in Pakistan have been particularly cruel to the Dadu district in the country’s southern Sindh Province. With nearly half its population of 1.3 million displaced, and virtually everyone in the region affected, providing much-needed supplies and medical assistance to flood victims has indeed been a monumental endeavor.
UNICEF Executive Director spotlights Malawi's social cash-transfer programme
MCHINJI, Malawi, 28 October 2010 – UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake recently concluded a two-day visit to Malawi, where he highlighted a cash-transfer programme as an innovative way to help the poorest households – while simultaneously increasing school attendance – in order to end the cycle of poverty for future generations.
Psycho-social services help Pakistan flood survivors cope with devastation
KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA, Pakistan, 26 October 2010 – In a disaster, it is always children who pay the highest price. For Umair, 7, a victim of the recent floods in Pakistan, that price was the tragic loss of his mother.
New programme brings child labourers back to school in Bihar
NALANDA DISTRICT, Bihar, India, 25 October 2010 – Wearing a clean, navy-blue school uniform with a sky-blue shawl draped over her shoulders, Khaushaliya Kumari, 14, is sociable and relaxed as she goes through her daily routines. Khaushaliya and 46 other girls staying at the Residential Bridge Centre, or RBC, wash their own clothes and dishes, and are in charge of cleaning up the classroom where they all both sleep and study.
Amidst severe poverty, community centres aid families in Paraguay
BAÑADO SUR, Paraguay, 21 October 2010 – The Cateura Dump, in the Bañado Sur area along the Paraguay River, is the final dumping site for more than 1,500 tons of solid waste each day. Poor waste management has caused the country’s most essential water supply to become dangerously polluted and the environment contaminated.
Child-friendly spaces reach those with special needs in post-flood Pakistan
SINDH PROVINCE, Pakistan, 15 October 2010 – Rehana, 12, is a special needs child whose eyes have simply seen far too much misery for one so young. Having fled with her family from the floodwaters that submerged her home in Sindh province, Pakistan, she now lives in a poor area of the province where girls are isolated within their communities, have limited access to schools and cannot earn much.
UNICEF workshop determines to tackle child labour problem in Syria
ALEPPO, Syrian Arab Republic, 15 October 2010 – As the latest link in an unbreakable cigarette chain burns along his oil-yellowed fingers, Syrian mechanic Abu Hamid explains his predicament.
UNICEF Executive Director makes first official visit to post-earthquake Haiti
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 30 September 2010 – Jant Garane and her four children have been living in a tiny shack at the Accra camp for displaced people since a massive earthquake devastated Haiti last January. The camp is home to more than 20,000 people, including some 8,000 children.
Signing onto international protocols, Member States join fight to protect child rights
NEW YORK, USA, 29 September 2010 – Several new countries signed or ratified the Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child during a treaty event at the 65th UN General Assembly, further strengthening the rights of children worldwide.
Despite challenges, UNICEF partners in Mogadishu strive to reach women and children
MOGADISHU, Somalia, 29 September 2010 – It is hard to think of a place where children are more at risk than Somalia.
UNICEF Executive Director calls for renewed commitment to end recruitment of child soldiers
NEW YORK, USA, 28 September 2010 – UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake has called for an extra commitment from all governments to end the use of children in war.
UNICEF UK Ambassador Martin Bell says children are worst victims of Yemen crisis
AL-MAZRAQ, Yemen, 31 August 2010 – UNICEF UK Ambassador for Humanitarian Emergencies Martin Bell witnessed the horrifying impact of conflict on children when he visited northern Yemen recently. Fighting between government and rebel forces has raged in the region for several years, displacing thousands of families.
UNICEF-supported child-friendly schools bring education to rural Ghana
TARIKPAA, Ghana, 17 August 2010 – Elizabeth, 12, is fighting to achieve a dream that was once also her father’s – completing an education.
East Jerusalem's young people find inspiration in new programmes
East Jerusalem, 12 August 2010 – Growing up in East Jerusalem is not easy. According to a recent study, 65 per cent of the population – including some 95,000 children – live under the poverty line. Political tensions produce violence and interfere with a healthy, productive childhood. According to city data, half of post-elementary age children drop out of school.
Schools in Southern Sudan offer new hope to children affected by war
JUBA, Sudan, 11 August 2010 – Mark, 19, is a young man of exceptional resilience and determination. He is also a former child soldier. Like many thousands of young people in his country, he comes from a family that was broken by civil war.
Birth registration for indigenous children in Peru's Amazonian region
CANAMPA, Peru, 9 August 2010 – Fermin Tetsa Sanchick, 35, has worked as a civil registrar in the indigenous community of Canampa, in Peru’s Amazonas region, since 2000. He says that he is proud of his work, and that his greatest accomplishment is registering the births of 200 children among the ‘awajun’ indigenous group – his own community.
UNICEF updates guidelines for reporting on children’s issues
NEW YORK, USA, 6 August 2010 – UNICEF has updated its guidelines for reporting on children’s issues as part of the continuing global effort to ensure every child’s right to protection and dignity.
Supporting mothers to prevent child abandonment in Morocco
MARRAKESH, Morocco, 4 August 2010 - Karima (not her real name), 23, is struggling with the consequences of an unwanted pregnancy alone. The baby’s father left her, and to hide her situation she left her parents’ house in the Marrakesh countryside. Due to traditional views on pregnancy outside of marriage and fears of the repercussions, she has not told her father, only her mother.
Support for Malaysian children affected by HIV and AIDS
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, 29 July 2010 – Thirteen-year-old Aina (name changed) is determined to be a filmmaker when she grows up. She knows she’s talented and isn’t too shy to talk about it.
Cases of children accused of ‘witchcraft’ rising in parts of West and Central Africa
AKWA IBOM STATE, Nigeria, 28 July 2010 – One child is given a slice of mango and is asked to commit murder in return. Another admits to killing 800 people while flying with other witches on a piece of tree bark.
IKEA Social Initiative helps children from nomadic communities in Pakistan
FAISALABAD, Pakistan, 27 July 2010 – Only a year ago, Nazdana, 8, spent her days picking paper, bottles and metal pieces from the heaps of garbage littered around the city. Today, her world has changed completely. She sits reading from a textbook, dressed in a tidy school uniform, at the Education and Counselling Centre in Ghaziabad – enjoying her newfound freedom from hazardous work.
In the wake of violence, home visits ensure social assistance for families in Kyrgyzstan
OSH, Kyrgyzstan, 23 July 2010 – From the outside, the walled compound of the Kozybaeva household looks relatively undamaged, raising hopes that unlike most of the neighbouring houses, this one might be intact. But just beyond the gate is the burnt-out shell of what used to be the family car. And beyond that are the ruins of what was once the family home.
UNICEF supports efforts to end sexual harassment of girls and women in Bangladesh
NARSINGDI, Bangladesh, 21 July 2010 – Hundreds of people, many of them adolescents, rallied in the streets of Narsingdi district recently to call for an end to ‘Eve teasing’ – a term used to describe the public bullying of girls and women by boys and men.
Afghanistan reaffirms commitment to protecting child rights amidst conflict
KABUL, Afghanistan, 21 July 2010 – The Government of Afghanistan has reaffirmed its commitment to protecting children affected by the ongoing conflict here through the establishment of a Steering Committee that will address and respond to grave violations against children.
Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow visits Ugandan children affected by conflict
GULU and KOTIDO, Uganda, 16 July 2010 – UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow has made a round of visits to Uganda communities this week, in advance of her participation in the first-ever African Youth Forum, which begins tomorrow in Entebbe.
New child-friendly schools bring new hope to communities in Sri Lanka
AMPARA DISTRICT, Sri Lanka, 15 July 2010 – Thousands of schoolchildren in Ampara district, eastern Sri Lanka, recently cheered in a new era in education, with marching bands playing and UNICEF flags waving during official ceremonies in their villages.
'Hermano' production company partners with UNICEF on violence prevention in Venezuela
NEW YORK, USA, 15 July 2010 – The UNICEF-supported film, ‘Hermano’ – which last month won the Grand Prix for Best Film at the International Film Festival in Moscow, as well as the audience and critics’ prizes – will now be used to help spur conversations about violence prevention in Venezuela’s poor urban communities.
Six months on, UNICEF reviews Haiti quake-relief milestones, and looks forward
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 12 July 2010 – Six months after the earthquake that ravaged Haiti on 12 January, UNICEF has released a detailed report chronicling relief efforts to date. Titled ‘Children of Haiti: Milestones and looking forward at six months,’ the report begins by implicitly asking the question: What did not happen following the earthquake?
Breaking the cycle: Iraqi refugee students in Syria need help to go back to school
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 6 July 2010 – Lulls in conversation with 16-year-old Iraqi refugee Gailan are soon filled with the gentle inhale-exhale of sleep. Outside, the Damascus streets are silent, except for the shuffling of those woken early by the intense morning heat.
After violence tears apart communities in Kyrgyzstan, a brittle calm settles in
OSH, Kyrgyzstan, 1 July 2010 – All along the Alisher Navoi Street, the scene is similar from house to house. Some of the buildings are just charred walls. Some have collapsed completely. Others bear bullet holes from intense gunfire.
A child labourer leaves the streets behind and succeeds in school in the Philippines
NEW YORK, USA, 30 June 2010 – Arcy Nino Ortonio, now 19, is in his second year of college in the Philippines, taking courses in maritime studies so that he can work on a ship as a deck officer and move up the ranks. But less than 15 years ago, when Arcy was just a young child, he worked two jobs to help pay his grade-school fees and his future was uncertain.
UNICEF advocate and author Ishmael Beah pens high-profile op-ed on child soldiers
N’DJAMENA, Chad, 28 June 2010 – On the inside walls of one of the centres for former child soldiers in N’Djaména, the capital of Chad, are images that start with the horrors of war and gradually become those of anticipated hopes and dreams.
Protecting South Africa's children during the FIFA World Cup 2010 and beyond
SOWETO, South Africa, 18 June 2010 – As the most-watched sports event worldwide, the FIFA World Cup 2010 is expected to attract more than a billion television viewers around the world. Across the host country, South Africa, fan parks known as FIFA ‘Fan Fests’ have set up huge TV screens and stages for live entertainment.
Amidst violence in southern Kyrgyzstan, a mother and son seek refuge
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan 16 June 2010 – At 3 a.m. last Sunday, Malika and her son Emil, 8, left their house in Osh, Kyrgyzstan. The moonless night concealed ruins and dead bodies scattered near their home. Caustic fumes spread from the neighbouring burning houses, reminders of the atrocities that had been raging in the town for days.
Young Zimbabwean featured in 'Music by Prudence' champions disability rights
NEW YORK, USA, 15 June 2010 – The second Millennium Development Goal calls for universal primary education for all boys and girls, and Article 23 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child says that all children with disabilities have the right to special care and support so they can live full and independent lives. But for many children with diabilities in developing countries – especially in rural areas – few opportunities for education are accessible.
Support centres protect children from violence and abuse in Mozambique
MAPUTO, Mozambique, 15 June 2010 – The girl was only 12 years old when her father took her to a guest house and raped her. She told her mother, but her mother did not believe her. Unable to deal with the trauma, the girl reached out for help at the Alta Mae Support Centre in a crowded neighbourhood of Maputo, Mozambique’s capital city.
Call centre responds to needs of separated children in Haitian quake zone
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 15 June 2010 – “Hello, Separated Children Call Centre, how can I help you?” an operator asked. “Where exactly did you say the child is currently? He is at the health Centre? Did the child come by himself or was he brought in by someone? Thank you for calling – we will dispatch two case workers who will arrive at the centre in 30 minutes.”
Chad and five other Central African countries pledge to end use of children in armed conflict
N’DJAMENA, Chad, 11 June 2010 – At a regional conference here this week, Chad and five other Central African nations signed a declaration on ending the use of child soldiers. In a recorded video address to the participants, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake offered fervent support for the move.
As FIFA World Cup 2010 festivities begin in South Africa, Angélique Kidjo visits Soweto
SOWETO, South Africa, 10 June 2010 – With football fever gripping fans across the globe, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Angélique Kidjo is using this moment to highlight the immense needs of South African children made vulnerable by poverty, violence, and HIV and AIDS.
Barbados works to change attitudes, implement positive discipline in schools
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 10 June 2010 – Beyond the postcard-perfect beaches of Barbados, there is a controversial issue dividing much of this small island nation. A debate is raging about whether to continue using corporal punishment when disciplining children.
UNICEF and partners support reintegration of child soldiers in Chad
N’DJAMENA, Chad, 28 May 2010 – For Dowa Samna, 19, working at a garage in the Chadian capital, N’Djamena, is a far cry from his former life in the armed forces. The former child soldier recalls that conditions in the military were rough. “We did not eat regular meals,” he says, “and we had to share everything.”
Working to reduce violence and abuse against children in Swaziland
Swaziland, 11 May 2010 – Three years ago, a massive survey supported by UNICEF and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed an alarming level of sexual and physical abuse affecting girls in Swaziland. As many as one in three girls surveyed reported a history of abuse.
UN and UNICEF urge all countries to adopt measures protecting children
NEW YORK, 25 May 2010 – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake and other child-rights advocates came together at UNICEF headquarters in New York this morning, calling for all countries to take extra steps aimed at protecting children from violence and exploitation.
Safe havens protect children from abuse and exploitation in Benin
PARAKOU, Benin, 24 May 2010 – Sophie, 13, was promised into an arranged marriage by her older brother. When she refused, he physically abused her. “He beat me up and told me he was going to kill me,” Sophie said. She escaped and hid on the outskirts of the village. A policeman found her three days later, tired and scared.
Child-friendly space helps protect young survivors of Haiti earthquake
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 21 May 2010 – Over 100 young voices rise in harmony to affirm a common sentiment. “Sa ki pa nan espas n’ap voye yo ale,” they sing in Haitian Creole. “Those that do not belong in this space should be out of this place.”
In post-quake Chile, supporting the emotional recovery of children
SANTIAGO, Chile, 21 May 2010 – Nearly three months after Chile’s devastating 8.8-magnitude earthquake, a UNICEF-commissioned study has found that 93 per cent of children in the quake-affected region show signs of emotional stress. Most remember the quake in detail and many still fear another earthquake or tsunami.
In Senegal, UNICEF Executive Director sees impact of community empowerment
THIES, Senegal, 20 May 2010 – “I came to vaccinate my baby,” said Anta Ndiou. “This way, she will grow up healthy.”
Reform of Georgia's juvenile justice system focuses on rehabilitation
TBILISI, Georgia, 13 May 2010 – On a warm day in early spring, groups of adolescent boys congregate outside a large, well-kept building. Some are playing football and table tennis, while others are chatting.
After alarming rise, UNICEF calls for release of Somali child soldiers
NEW YORK, NY, USA, 7 May 2010 – As reports warn of an alarming rise in the recruitment of child soldiers in Somalia, UNICEF and the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict are calling on all parties to put an immediate end to this criminal practice.
Nicholas Kristof cites gender inequity as the central moral challenge of the century
NEW YORK, USA, 29 April 2010 – Best-selling author and Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has told a UNICEF conference that gender inequity is the central moral challenge of the 21st century.
Juvenile solitary confinement cells to be abolished in Moldova
CHISINAU, Moldova, 29 April 2010 – On an advocacy visit to Moldova this month, French Senator Robert Badinter, known for overseeing the abolition of the death penalty in France, called on the Moldovan Government to advance reforms in the country’s juvenile justice system.
UNICEF-EC programme gives a second chance to a would-be child bride in India
NEW YORK, USA, 22 April 2010 – Bablu, 15, lives with her family in a small village in rural Rajasthan. She was 13 when her community decided she should be married. “I did not want to get married,” she said. “I thought my life would be completely ruined.”
Acrobatics help to keep children off the streets in Guinea
CONAKRY, Guinea 15 April 2010 - Bangali just turned 19. He lives in a very poor neighborhood of Conakry, next to a garbage dump. But, recently, Bangali’s life took an exciting new turn when he began learning acrobatics at Tinafan Centre.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu launches book on children and transitional justice
NEW YORK, USA, 9 March 2010 – Today, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu visited UNICEF House, where he met with UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman and launched a new publication, which explores why any successful transition from war to peace must ensure that children have a place – and a voice – in helping to build a peaceful and stable future.
Cold weather and poor nutrition face children affected by conflict in northern Yemen
AMRAN CITY, Yemen, 4 March 2010 – Ever since the raging conflict in northern Yemen drove her from her home in Sa’ada to the city of Amran, Fatma has been praying day and night for the fighting to end. She longs to be reunited with her two married daughters who stayed behind, one of whom is a mother of 10 children.
Last group of Maoist child soldiers discharged in Nepal
ROLPA, Nepal, 17 February 2010 – The remote and rugged setting, high in the hills of Rolpa, was fitting for the historic scene. This mountain district was the place where Maoist rebels fired their first salvo against the Nepalese monarchy and army in February 1996.
Volunteers provide psycho-social support to young Haitian quake survivors
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, 11 February 2010 – In hospital after hospital, and tent after tent, Haitian boys and girls with broken or amputated limbs lie on mattresses, unable to run around and play. Their casts are awkward and they’re crammed for space.
Mobile cinema helps change attitudes about female genital mutilation/cutting in Mali
BOUGOUNISSABA, Mali, 5 February 2010 – When the Cinéma Numérique Ambulant came to Djènèba Doumbia’s village, the young women had no idea how it would change her life.
UNICEF and European Commission support drive to end female genital cutting in Senegal
SOUDIANE BAMBARA, Senegal, 22 January 2010 – Marie, 19, is home for the school holidays and is helping her aunt with the household chores. In the heat of the midday sun, she washes clothes by hand and hangs them out to dry.
Shelter provides hope for abused women in western Afghanistan
HERAT, Afghanistan, 11 January 2010 - Nafiza Popal, 45, manages Herat’s only women’s shelter, providing a refuge for women in distress, the vast majority of whom have fled their husbands after experiencing physical violence.
First group of Maoist child soldiers begin process to rejoin civilian life in Nepal
SINDHULI DISTRICT, Nepal, 8 January 2010 - In a flurry of colour, flowers and blessings, a group of some 200 young people – some former child soldiers – left behind them their military barracks in Maoist army cantonment here and took their first steps back into civilian life.
Protecting children during the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola
LUANDA, Angola, 08 January 2010 — Angola is preparing to host the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN2010) football tournament later this month and UNICEF is working with its partners to ensure that children are not exploited or endangered in the run up to the event.
Giving young women in Niger the skills to earn a safer living
AGADEZ, Niger, 4 January 2010 – Three years ago, Soueba was a young girl collecting animal parts from the slaughterhouse to sell at the local market. Today, she and her friends are earning a better living making and selling batik pieces.
One girl’s stand against early marriage in India
PURULIA DISTRICT, India, 04 January 2010 – Jakir Ansari used to work in the circus as a clown, and his face and arms are studded with scars from where the knives that were thrown at him missed their mark. Today he works as a day labourer, earning about 1,200 rupees ($26) per month to support his family.
UNICEF-supported drop in centres relieve life of poverty for Afghan children
TORKHAM, Afghanistan, 30 December 2009 - An Afghani still living in the Pacha Maina refugee camp in Pakistan, Sheila, 10, crosses the border into her own country only to work.
Social services now reaching children in the Maldives
RAA ATOLL, Maldives, 29 December 2009 – Ahmed Hussain has a tough job. As a social worker in the closely-knit communities of the atoll islands that make up the Maldives, issues like child neglect or abuse rarely surface in conversation, especially with outsiders.
Expanding child protection services for orphans and vulnerable children after the tsunami
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia, 28 December 2009 – In the playing fields at the Darusada Children’s Centre, a sense of calm provides a stark contrast to what these children have endured. All the residents here have suffered from the recent conflict in Aceh, the trauma of the tsunami or have been rescued from family violence.
Orphaned by the tsunami, a child in Thailand finds new hope
PHANG NGA PROVINCE, Thailand, 23 December 2009 – In a remote corner of Phang Nga Province, nine-year-old Pimolpan and her aunt, Sanit Boontam, talk quietly on the porch of their small house. However, it was not always this way.
Expanded services helps victims of abuse and neglect find healing in tsunami-affected Thailand
KRABI PROVINCE, THAILAND, 22 December 2009 – Sitting on the floor of her simple home, Nok (not her real name), 17, speaks with Tuangporn Dumrith, a visiting social worker. Her youth belies the trauma she has already endured in her life.
Liberia enshrines the Convention on the Rights of the Child in military code
MONROVIA, Liberia, 2 December 2009 – UNICEF and Liberia’s Ministry of National Defence recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen their cooperation in ensuring that children’s rights are fully respected in the interactions between the military and the population – especially for children living in military barracks.
UNICEF and local partners fight child trafficking and exploitation in Niger
AGADEZ, Niger, 9 November 2009 – It’s 6 a.m. at the Agadez bus station, and the members of the town’s Child Protection Committee are keeping a close watch on the waiting passengers for the bus heading towards the northern town of Dirkou.
Birth registration effort aims to protect child rights in Namibia
WINDHOEK, Namibia, 28 October 2009—A novel idea for children has become a reality, now that the Namibian Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration has set up an office in the maternity ward at Katutura State Hospital, the main public hospital in Windhoek. This UNICEF-supported effort is designed to ensure that every child born at the hospital receives a birth certificate.
A ‘big sister’ helps students cope with bullying in Malaysia
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, 26 October 2009 – As Head Prefect, Dashenee Huthamaputhiran, 17, is a friendly face around Convent Sentul High School, offering advice to students who break school rules or lending a helping hand to those in trouble.
New situation analysis report highlights violence against children
DAMASCUS, Syria, 20 October 2009 – After two year’s work, the Syrian Commission for Family Affairs (SCFA) in collaboration with UNICEF has concluded a report on the Situation Analysis of Children (SITAN) in Syria.
Deputy Executive Director Hilde Johnson warns of triple threat to child survival in CAR
BANGUI, Central African Republic, 20 October 2009 – UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Hilde Johnson has called on the international community to support children in the Central African Republic (CAR) who are bearing the brunt of the country’s declining fortunes.
Ann M. Veneman and Agnes Chan launch ‘Progress for Children’ in Tokyo
TOKYO, Japan, 6 October 2009 – UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman, accompanied by UNICEF Japan Goodwill Ambassador Agnes Chan, released ‘Progress for Children: A Report Card on Child Protection’ at a press conference held at the Tokyo office of the Japan Committee for UNICEF today.
UNICEF ‘Progress for Children’ report advances child-protection goals
NEW YORK, USA, 5 October 2009 – Children around the world are experiencing fundamental infringements of their human rights, and suffering physical and psychological harm that has wide-reaching, sometimes irreparable effects.
Paris Commitments on protecting child soldiers gain support among UN Member States
NEW YORK, USA, 30 September 2009 – The challenging and critical job of protecting children from recruitment by armed forces or groups took a step forward this week, as a number of United Nations Member States added their names to the ‘Paris Commitments’.
Clinton Global Initiative concludes with commitment to act on violence against girls
NEW YORK, USA, 25 September 2009 – Former US President Bill Clinton concluded the 2009 Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) – four days of dialogue and collaboration that wrapped up today in New York – by announcing further commitments to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges.
UNICEF Ambassador Lucy Liu raises awareness of child trafficking
WASHINGTON DC, 18 September 2009 – US Fund for UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Lucy Liu delivered an impassioned speech here this week to raise awareness about the estimated 1.2 million children who are trafficked worldwide every year.
A Kyrgyz local hero fights to protect the rights of street children in Bishkek
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan, 24 August 2009 – A recent morning for Alexei Petrushevski went something like this: He met a high-ranking city official to get approval of a project ensuring that all of his wards at the Bishkek Centre for Street Children will eventually get birth certificates and other necessary paperwork. Then he rushed off to negotiate the purchase of football jerseys – at discounted rates, of course – for the centre’s new children’s soccer team.
UNICEF seeks justice for imprisoned young people
MUSANZE, Rwanda, 14 August 2009 – It was early morning in Musanze when children who had been in prison awaiting trial finally got a legal hearing.
Breaking the barrier of exclusion
NEW YORK, USA, 30 July 2009 – Worldwide, more than half of the children not attending school are from minority or indigenous populations, according to a report released this month by Minority Rights Group International, in collaboration with UNICEF.
Growing poverty in Gaza pushing children to work
GAZA STRIP, Occupied Palestinian Territory, 22 July 2009 – The sound of a lathe screams in the background as Nael Hasan al-Lada’, 12, talks about his job in an auto body shop. He just started the job this summer, but already the young boy is helping to support his entire family of seven brothers and sisters.
Saving lives and limbs through mine clearance and mine-risk education in Nepal
GULMI, Nepal, 21 July 2009 – In the scorching midday heat, the de-miners of the Nepalese Army are busy clearing mines at Wamitaksarin, in the country’s Gulmi district. Wearing heavy safety jackets and helmets, the soldiers have worked incessantly throughout the early morning.
Keeping children safe from bullies in Malaysia
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, 15 July 2009 – Ivan Wong, 10, loves badminton. His hero is Malaysia's top shuttler, Lee Chong Wei. Ivan used to look forward to Saturday mornings, when he could go to school and play badminton with his friends. But his love for the game could not withstand the incessant teasing directed at him by the older boys at school.
Blind children learn about their stake in the Sierra Leone Child Rights Act
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, 14 July 2009 – Osman Kamara, 16, was born blind in Freetown. At the age of five, he was enrolled at the Milton Margai School for the Blind, and he has lived there ever since. Osman is now a fifth-form pupil in one of the secondary schools in Freetown; with the aid of the Braille, he participates effectively in the classroom and makes good grades.
Music video by The Killers raises awareness about trafficking and sexual exploitation
LONDON, United Kingdom, 13 July 2009 — Starting today, MTV audiences around the world will see a new music video that aims to raise awareness about sex trafficking. Featuring the rock band The Killers, the video is an exclusive collaboration between UNICEF, MTV EXIT (End Exploitation and Trafficking) and the US Agency for International Development.
Troubled young people get a second chance in Guyana
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, 9 July 2009 – Carletta is just 16, but she has already confronted many challenges and brutalities in life. She ran away from home several times and became involved in dangerous activities. Eventually, her father, a single parent, realized he was no longer able to cope with her behaviour.
UNICEF and partners bring hope to children accused of ‘witchcraft’ in Nigeria
ESI-EKET, Nigeria, 2 July 2009 – Paul, a young man whose father heads a school, has been living at the Child Rights and Rehabilitation Network (CRARN) centre in Esi-Eket for about two years now. His father visits him at the centre occasionally but is not willing to take him home due to the stigma associated with ‘child witches’.
Ethnic minority communities struggle to break a cycle of poverty in Kosovo
PRISTINA, 29 June 2009 – In a desolate corner on the outskirts of Pristina, Kosovo, two men sit on the bare ground, mending a bicycle that is a lifeline for their families.
Awareness campaign aims to reduce danger from unexploded ordnance in eastern Chad
GOZ BEIDA, Chad, 26 June 2009 – The Day of the African Child celebration in the Dar Sila region of eastern Chad started with a controlled explosion on 16 June.
Children carrying the burden of work in Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan, 23 June 2009 – Child labour is an issue of growing concern in Afghanistan. The ongoing political tensions, insecurity and rising food prices have put the livelihoods of vulnerable families and children increasingly at risk.
Ensuring a right to special protection for vulnerable child refugees in Chad
IRIBA, Chad, 19 June 2009 – Children protecting the rights of children: That’s the idea behind the workshop being held in Iridimi, one of three camps in northern Chad for refugees from the Darfur region of Sudan.
Educating children about unexploded ordnance in post-conflict Georgia
KIRBALI, Georgia, 17 June 2009 – Life is gradually returning to normal for most children at the Kirbali Village School near Gori following last year's conflict which resulted large numbers of civilian casualties.
UNICEF Executive Director meets with Zimbabwe Prime Minister
WASHINGTON, DC, USA, 12 June 2009 – UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman met today with Morgan Tsvangirai, Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, and three of his government ministers.
On World Day against Child Labour, one Nepali girl's story of a fresh start
KATHMANDU, Nepal, 12 June 2009 – Maya Waiba was still shy of her 10th birthday when a labour contractor in her impoverished village in the south of Nepal promised her parents that she would receive a decent salary and an education in Kathmandu. What Maya got instead was a back-breaking job as a weaver in a carpet factory.
Pounding rock and crushing potential: Child labour in DR Congo
KIPUSHI, Democratic Republic of Congo, 12 June 2009 – Covered in powder, Sylvian, 2, sits alongside his mother, pounding rocks with a mallet in an ore heap in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Rocks, dust and sun: This is the only life Sylvian has known.
Coming to terms with grief in Nablus: ‘Fatima helped me’
NABLUS, Occupied Palestinian Territory, 9 June 2009 – Several times a month, Fatima Alshopy navigates the narrow streets of the Number One Refugee Camp in the West Bank city of Nablus to visit Maha Qatouny, a mother of three who recently suffered a terrible loss.
Retraining helps children secure safer future outside of the mines in Burkina Faso
GANGAOL, Burkina Faso, 8 June 2009 - Gangaol village is located between the Sahel Region and the Centre-North of Burkina Faso. This is a hot and scrubby land, bordering the desert, where increasingly marginal land is being used to farm millet and sorghum - the only crops that can grow here. The region has been struck by frequent droughts and locust swarms, which resulted in famine in 1973, 1984 and 2005.
UNICEF Regional Director assesses situation on the ground in Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan, 27 May 2009 – UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia Dan Toole concluded a four-day visit to Afghanistan last week, assessing the situation on the ground.
UNICEF Regional Director meets children and families displaced by conflict in Pakistan
JALALA CAMP, Pakistan, 26 May 2009 – The hot summer sun beat down as UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia Dan Toole walked around Jalala camp. Mr Toole was here last week to see how UNICEF is supporting those affected by the biggest population displacement in Pakistan's history.
John-Bosco’s journey: Sustainable solutions for street children in Kigali
KIGALI, Rwanda, 19 May 2009 – When rebels entered his village in 1994, John-Bosco, then 11, fled across the border into the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
UNICEF supports psychosocial relief in child-friendly safe spaces
NEW YORK, USA, 18 May 2009 – Worldwide, an estimated 18 million children are currently displaced by armed conflict and natural disasters. As soon as immediate health and safety concerns have been attended to, emergency situations require a special level of care for emotionally distressed children.
Burundi’s last child soldiers homeward bound toward a new life
GITEGA, Burundi, 15 May 2009 – This week, 136 former child soldiers separated from Burundi’s last rebel group, the Forces Nationales de la Libération (FNL), left the Gitega Transit Centre to rejoin their respective families in Bujumbura Mairie, Bujumbura Rural, Bubanza and Gitega.
Teenager advocates for child-care reform at regional forum in Kyrgyzstan
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan, 14 May 2009 – Maftuna, now 15, was only four years old when her mother died, but she remembers many things from her childhood.
National campaign accelerates birth registration in Burkina Faso
OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso, 13 May 2009 – In Burkina Faso, as in many developing countries, millions of children are still making their way through life impoverished, abandoned, malnourished and uneducated. Having gone unregistered since birth, they are in danger of being forgotten and denied access to essential social services.
Scapegoating the most vulnerable in the Central African Republic
BANGUI, Central African Republic, 12 May 2009 – Laurent (not his real name) was 10 years old when he was sent to live with his uncle, aunt and their two little boys in Bangui, the capital city of the Central African Republic (CAR). One day his cousin fell seriously ill.
Ankara hosts international symposium on children in conflict with the law
ANKARA, Turkey, 11 May 2009 – Experts from four continents have recommended that all countries set up national child-information systems to identify children at risk, as well as the risks they face. The recommendation was made in the concluding statement of a three-day international symposium on children at risk and in need of protection, which took place recently in Ankara.
Sierra Leonean survivor honoured for advocacy on behalf of women and children
NEW YORK, USA, 8 May 2009 – The newest recipient of the Voices of Courage Award, Mariatu Kamara, met yesterday with UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman, who congratulated her on the honour.
Religious leaders call for ending corporal punishment in Mauritania
ATAR, Mauritania, 6 May 2009 – In the first hour after his arrival at a mahadra (Koranic school) in Atar, Ahmed was beaten several times. Over the next four months, he suffered daily.
UN Security Council addresses latest report on children in armed conflict
NEW YORK, USA, 29 April 2009 – A former child soldier told the tale of her abduction and abuse by an armed rebel group to the United Nations Security Council today, as the council discussed the latest report from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on children in armed conflict.
UNICEF consultation takes on challenges facing indigenous and minority children
NEW YORK, USA, 16 April 2009 – Personal testimonies led to an intense and passionate dialogue at the opening of the Consultation on Indigenous Peoples’ and Minorities’ Issues, hosted by UNICEF in New York yesterday. Several speakers related stories of their own struggles, highlighting the critical need for increased awareness of the rights of indigenous and minority populations.
Sporting chance at a new life for former child soldiers in Burundi
GITEGA, Burundi, 14 April 2009 – At an impromptu sports clinic, UNICEF Representative in Burundi Gloria Kodzwa gave a strong pep talk to 112 children separated last week from Burundi’s last rebel group, the Palipehutu-FNL.
In eastern DR Congo, up to 250,000 flee attacks by Rwandan rebel group
NEW YORK, USA, 13 April, 2009 – Since January, more than 250,000 people have fled fighting in North Kivu province in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, adding further strain to an already grave humanitarian situation facing children and families there. Some 800,000 Congolese remain displaced from the past two years of conflict in the province.
Turkish universities set standard by championing child rights in new syllabus
GENEVA, Switzerland, 9 April 2009 – Six Turkish universities are leading the way in European journalism studies by agreeing to introduce a new child rights syllabus in their degree programmes.
Bakhit’s story: Working to protect children from unexploded mines in Chad
N’DJAMENA, Chad, 6 April 2009 – All it took was a simple moment of curiosity to tragically change a young Chadian boy’s life forever. The incident occurred in January 2008, when Bakhit, 7, was playing with his friends and happened upon an unexploded landmine.
International Day for Mine Awareness: Clearing the legacies of war from Afghanistan's soil
NEW YORK, USA, 3 April 2009 – The world's first humanitarian mine-action program began in Afghanistan two decades ago, but the country remains dangerously contaminated.
A safe haven for displaced children in Georgia
SAKASHETI, Georgia, 30 March 2009—Tens of thousands of Georgians suffered temporary or permanent displacement as a result of the August 2008 conflict. Currently, estimates suggest that some 30,000 people – the majority originating from Abkhazia and South Ossetia – remain internally displaced. And approximately 12,000 of these displaced persons are children.
The path to peace in Thailand’s restive southern provinces starts with children
SONGKHLA, Thailand, 18 March 2009 – The large, colourful drawing shows a monk, an Imam and Buddhist and Muslim citizens holding hands in a loving community where a mosque and a temple stand side by side. Beside them are Buddhists and Muslims praying for peace in Thailand’s violence-ridden southern border provinces.
A day in the lives of two homeless brothers in Bangladesh
DHAKA, Bangladesh, 12 March 2009 – The sun had not yet risen when the two boys woke up. By 4 a.m., the port on the River Buriganga here in the capital of Bangladesh was alive and bustling. The ‘bed’ where Yusef,14, and his younger brother Smaile,10, slept was made of hard wooden planks on the pier.
Fighting drug addiction among Maldives youths
MALE, Maldives, 11 March 2009 – In the tropical tourists’ paradise of Maldives, beyond the waving palms and turquoise pools, lurks the ugly problem of youth drug addiction.
Deputy Executive Director calls for release of all child soldiers in DR Congo
NEW YORK, USA, 3 March 2009 – UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Hilde F. Johnson has urged armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to release all children associated with the conflict.
Children trapped in Sri Lanka’s conflict
VANNI, Sri Lanka, 23 February 2009 – Sennappu had a split second, a moment, literally a heartbeat to throw her body around her 18-month-old daughter before the bomb landed. Her reactions were enough time to save the life of her baby girl. Sennappu was killed instantly.
On 'Red Hand Day', children call for an end to their forced use in conflict
NEW YORK, USA, 13 February 2009 – Children from 101 countries have appealed to international leaders to take stronger action to end the use of child soldiers.
US tour to raise awareness of V-Day/UNICEF campaign against rape in DR Congo
NEW YORK, USA, 12 February 2009 – On the eve of a five-city US speaking tour designed to raise awareness about the effect of sexual violence on the women of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, activist Eve Ensler warned yesterday that western consumption of DR Congo's resources has "consequences ... on the bodies of women."
Child-friendly spaces bring hope to Iraqi refugee children in Syria
DAMASCUS, Syria, 10 February 2009 – With as many as 1.5 million Iraqi refugees in Syria, it is a struggle to provide basic necessities for people who have left everything behind in their war-torn country. In this setting, the special needs of children can be overlooked.
As early recovery work begins, the toll of conflict on Gaza’s children is clear
NEW YORK, USA, 21 January 2009 – Amira, 15, is a survivor. After her two siblings and father were killed during the conflict in the Gaza Strip, she crawled from her family’s home and was found three days later in a neighbour’s house.
A young Bangladeshi mother and her child survive a trafficking nightmare
DHAKA, Bangladesh, 8 January 2009 – Maleka’s intention was to provide a better life in India for her two-year-old daughter, Rasheda. At the time, she was just 16, and her job in a garment factory in Chittagong was difficult and paid very little. So she put her trust in a male friend who said that he could smuggle them across the border and find her better work.
UNICEF-supported centre helps rehabilitate child sex workers in Togo
LOME, Togo, 31 December 2008 – At 10 PM on a Friday night, peer educator Roland Awume begins his rounds of outreach work through Lomé's 'red light districts'. Mr. Awume works at the UNICEF-supported Centre la Providence, a rehabilitation centre for sex workers.
Protection for sexual offense victims in Swaziland
MBABANE, Swaziland, 30 December 2008 – In response to concern about the alarming rates of violence against children documented in a 2007 national study conducted by UNICEF and the US Centers for Disease Control, Swaziland has established its first Sexual Offenses Unit for children and young people.
Rescuing victims of child sex trafficking in the United Kingdom
LONDON, United Kingdom, 2 January 2009 – Margaret (not her real name) was brought to the UK by a trafficker who promised her a better life. She was told that there was a family in the UK that was interested in caring for her. But when she arrived in the country, she was sold as a prostitute to an older man.
Launch of the first World Report on Child Injury Prevention in Hanoi
HANOI, Viet Nam, 10 December 2008 – A ceremony was held today in Hanoi to mark the launch of the first World Report on Child Injury Prevention. The report was jointly prepared by UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Government of Viet Nam, with input from more than 180 experts from 56 different countries.
With UNICEF Support, Pakistan launches a National Campaign against Child Abuse
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, 10 December 2008 – Last month, on Universal Children's Day, Pakistan launched its National Campaign against Child Abuse. The event brought together children, policymakers, social and development workers, diplomats, representatives of UN agencies, civil society organisations and the media.
New PSA asks young people to demand that their leaders ratify Youth Charter
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, 10 December 2008 – Thirty-six youth activists from 13 African countries have gathered in Johannesburg to mark today’s 60th anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The group – joined by UNICEF Regional Ambassador Yvonne Chaka Chaka and UNICEF Advocate for Youth and South African television and radio personality Kabelo “KB” Ngakane – also calls on African leaders to protect the rights of young people by ratifying the African Youth Charter.
‘Child-Safe Home’ model helps reduce child drowning in Viet Nam
DONG THAP PROVINCE, Viet Nam, 5 December 2008 – Ten children die every day from drowning in Viet Nam, where it is the number one cause of injury-related death among children over the age of one. In the province of Dong Thap alone, 202 children died from drowning during 2005 and 2006.
Launch of the 'StopX' online community to fight child sexual exploitation
NEW YORK, USA, 28 November 2008 – To coincide with the opening of World Congress III on the Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents in Brazil, UNICEF and partners launched StopX.org, an online community of young activists fighting sexual exploitation of children and adolescents.
Poverty drives Kenyan girls into sex work
MOMBASA, Kenya, 24 November 2008 — ‘Susan’ (not her real name) has been working as a prostitute since she was fourteen years old. She was forced into the business after her father’s death.
Latin American pop group Kudai visits Panama to highlight the needs of indigenous populations
PANAMA CITY, Panama, 24 November 2008 – Latin Grammy Award-Nominated Chilean pop group Kudai visited the autonomous territory of Kuna Yala recently in order to highlight the needs and concerns of indigenous and excluded populations.
World Congress III Against the Sexual Exploitation of Children opens in Brazil
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, 26 November 2008 – Some 3,000 participants from more than 125 countries gathered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for last night’s opening ceremony of the third World Congress Against Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents.
Effects of war in focus on the Universal Day of the Child
NEW YORK, USA, 21 November 2008 – Ishmael Beah, Grace Akallo and Kon Kelie have all survived the experience of being child soldiers. By speaking out about their own suffering and unlikely survival, they have become powerful advocates for the plight of children in armed conflict.
UNICEF Eminent Advocate for Children, Queen Rania of Jordan, speaks out on abuse
AMMAN, Jordan, 19 November 2008 – Abuse against children takes many forms – violence inflicted upon them or around them; exploitation in factories and fields; trafficking for labour, prostitution, and war; forced marriage and childbearing for little girls who are still just children themselves.
Early intervention strategies for online child exploitation
CORK, Ireland, 21 November 2008 – When Ethel Quayle sat down to devise an approach to the problem of child exploitation on the Internet, she was aware that millions of people in cyberspace might be seeking help. But Dr. Quayle was not directly targeting children who were being exploited.
Child sexual exploitation in the USA: Not just a problem for developing nations
NEW YORK, USA, 20 November 2008 – Child sexual exploitation has long been a known evil in developing countries where the combination of tourism and poverty make for a lucrative business. But at least 300,000 children and adolescents are prostituted every year in the United States, according to a 2001 University of Pennsylvania study. According to another study, more than 2,200 of them are in New York City.
UNICEF backs legislative reform to achieve human rights for children
NEW YORK, USA, 19 November 2008 – UNICEF is hosting a two-day conference on making legal systems work to achieve children's and women's rights. The event brings together representatives of governments, non-governmental organizations and UN agencies, as well as academics, parliamentarians and experts on human rights legislation.
Aichatou’s story: New skills protect a former street vendor from exploitation in Niger
MARADI, Niger, 17 November 2008 – A respected tailor within her community, Aichatou has a life today that is a far cry from the one she was living just over two years ago. Back then, she worked as a street vendor in the busy town of Maradi, eastern Niger, on the border with Nigeria.
Combating child sexual exploitation in the Philippines pornography trade
MANILA and CEBU, Philippines, 17 November 2008 – At a shopping mall in Makati, Manila, a raid targeting child pornography begins. Sifting through some of the thousands of pirated DVDs is child rights campaigner Senator M.A. Madrigal.
Protecting girls and women from sexual violence in post-war Liberia
MONROVIA, Liberia, 14 November 2008 – Peace came to Liberia in 2003, after 14 years of brutal, devastating civil war. Since then, progress to rebuild the country has been significant: the restoration of infrastructure, public services, the economy and the rule of law is well under way.
Ban Soon-taek offers encouragement to the children of Nepal
KATHMANDU, Nepal, 3 November 2008 – “My husband and I were born in the countryside in Korea. We didn’t have a good infrastructure for our schools then,” said Ban Soon-taek, wife of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “Sometimes, we had to study under a tree.”
A place for orphaned and vulnerable children to call home in Tajikistan
SHARINAU, Tajikistan, 23 September 2008 – In the countryside outside Dushanbe, children in shorts and swimming suits leap into a fountain, squealing with delight. They come from a boarding school for orphans, but are spending several weeks in a summer camp where they can take a holiday from their studies and escape the heat with a swim.
One woman’s fight to ensure justice for child victims of abuse in Malawi
BLANTYRE, Malawi, 27 August 2008 - Malawi’s justice system, like those in many other African nations, was designed to punish offenders, not to protect the victims. When the victims are children, a lack of protection can have distressing, if not catastrophic, results.
Armed groups in Colombia stealing childhood from girls and boys alike
BOGOTA, Columbia, 25 August 2008 – Juan, 15, and Gloria, 12, lived with their parents in the rural community of Antioquia, Colombia. But their family life was disrupted when both children were captured and recruited by one of the country’s illegal armed groups.
Former child soldier Emmanuel Jal is now a hip hop star with a message of peace
NEW YORK, USA, 25 August 2008 – Over a decade has passed since Sudanese hip hop star Emmanuel Jal was a child soldier. He survived to tell his story and is now an acclaimed international musician with a message of peace.
UNICEF strives to help Papua New Guinea break cycle of violence
NEW YORK, USA, 14 August 2008 – UNICEF is at the forefront of a nationwide effort to end domestic and gender-based violence in Papua New Guinea.
UNICEF Executive Director concludes visit to Madagascar
ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar, 30 July 2008 – UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman concluded her visit to Madagascar by launching a tetanus campaign in the rural town of Andilamena with the Minister of Health, Dr. Ralainirina Paul Richard, and local officials.
Project aims to ensure education for child labourers in drought-affected Ethiopia
AWASSA, Ethiopia, 28 July 2008 – In the districts around Awassa, it is becoming increasingly difficult to earn a livelihood. As the population has grown, the size of available plots of land has diminished. And now drought, along with rising food prices, has exacerbated an already desperate situation.
UNICEF’s child-friendly spaces use movement and dance to help children heal
NEW YORK, USA, 21 July 2008 – The tragedies of war and natural disasters leave children struggling to cope with deep psychological wounds. One of the ways that UNICEF and other organizations have helped to alleviate children’s emotional scars is through dance and movement.
UNICEF joins call to end impunity for violators against children in armed conflict
NEW YORK, 17 July 2008 – On the tenth anniversary of the statute classifying child recruitment as a war crime, members of the United Nations Security Council were urged today to take measures offering greater protection for children in conflict zones and ending impunity for violators of children’s rights.
National and local officials unite around Angola's '11 Commitments for Children'
LUANDA, Angola, 11 July 2008 – More than 140 of the Angolan Government’s senior staff members and Provincial Directors met last month for a training seminar on the country’s ‘11 Commitments for Children’.
A new chance for homeless youths and juvenile offenders in Niger
NIAMEY, Niger, 2 July 2008 – Souley, 16, lives on the streets of Niamey, Niger's capital. He spends most days at the local Educative, Preventive and Judiciary Service (SEJUP) centre, where he is learning skills that will enable him to earn a living and stay out of trouble.
Study recommends ways to improve juvenile justice in Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan, 1 July 2008 – A recent report on juvenile justice in Afghanistan notes that there is a long way to go towards realizing fair and child-friendly system in the country.
In the wake of increased kidnappings, UNICEF calls on governments to protect children
PAOUA, Central African Republic, 20 June 2008 – In the shade of the veranda, five-year-old Harouna Garga and his seven-year-old sister, Beldo, sit safely in their father’s lap in the family compound in Paoua, in north-west Central African Republic. Three years ago, however, their life was not so serene.
World Day against Child Labour highlights the right of every child to an education
NEW YORK, USA, 12 June 2008 – The UN International Labour Organization has designated today the World Day against Child Labour. Observed annually, it is a day to raise awareness about the cycle of poverty that results when children must work and therefore miss out on educational opportunities.
Costa Rican students exchange toy weapons for sporting equipment and notebooks
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica, 10 June 2008 – In the Los Cuadros section of Goicoechea, in Costa Rica’s San José province, violence is a major impediment to children’s education.
Turning former practitioners against female genital mutilation in Niger
NIAMEY, Niger, 28 May 2008 – Haissa’s life has forever changed. Her village has publicly vowed to end female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), asking practitioners to “put down the knife” and put an end to the practice.
UNICEF Regional Director sees North Caucasus rebuilding for sustainability
VLADIKAVKAZ, North Ossetia, Russian Federation, 29 May 2008 – UNICEF’s Regional Director for Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, Maria Calivis, recently visited UNICEF projects in Russia’s North Caucasus region.
Providing protection and emotional care for children living in camps in Cameroon
KOUSSERI, Cameroon, 20 May 2008 – The bridge connecting Kousseri, Cameroon to N’djamena, Chad takes about five minutes to walk across, but in the hot afternoon sun, it might feel like much longer – especially if the bridge is crowded, as it was in the first days of February when tens of thousands fled violence between the Chadian military and rebel forces.
Celebrating the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
NEW YORK, USA, 14 May 2008 – A major victory was achieved for people living with disabilities as leaders and activists gathered in the UN General Assembly Hall this week to celebrate the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
Support reaches a household of five siblings orphaned by AIDS in Malawi
LILONGWE, Malawi, 30 April May 2008 – At just 13 years of age, Tiyamike was already a veteran caregiver responsible for looking after four younger siblings. Tiyamike’s father had died the year before, due to complications from AIDS, and soon after, when his HIV-infected mother took ill, Tiyamike left school and started working.
Psychosocial activities help disadvantaged Palestinian children relieve stress
QALQILYA, West Bank, 28 April 2008 – Laughter fills the playground as more than 100 children with disabilities anxiously await their first visit to the only zoo in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
Sex tourism and child exploitation targeted by international experts at Innocenti conference
FLORENCE, Italy, 25 April 2008 – Two related topics – combating child sex tourism, and corporate social responsibility – were key discussion points at the expert consultation on child sexual exploitation and trafficking hosted by the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre (IRC) here this week.
Rwandan and Liberian youths capture images of their lives at 'Eye See III' workshop
NEW YORK, USA, 24 April 2008 – Each equipped with a camera and a unique perspective, dozens of children in Rwanda and Liberia recently spent a week with internationally renowned photographer and frequent UNICEF contributor Giacomo Pirozzi for a series of training workshops called ‘Eye See III’.
UNICEF and Cameroon work to improve conditions for juvenile prisoners
DOUALA, Cameroon, 14 April 2008 – Pascal is just 14 years old, but he is already living behind bars, as one of 85 juvenile inmates doing time in Douala’s Newbell prison.
Crushed childhoods, cruel choices in Gaza
AMMAN, Jordan, 8 April 2008 – Ayman is a soft-spoken 14-year-old boy from Jabalia City, Gaza. His family is poor, as his father has been unemployed since March 2006. Ayman’s parents have already sold almost all their furniture to pay for food and schooling for their children. Recently, after collecting a governmental food handout, Ayman’s father had to sell the milk to get the money for the journey back home.
On International Mine Awareness Day, Afghanistan still copes with landmines
KABUL, Afghanistan, 3 April 2008 – Landmines have killed or injured more than 70,000 Afghans in the last two decades, and they continue to cause hundreds more casualties each year.
Guinea-Bissau works to put child traffickers out of business
BAFATA REGION, Guinea-Bissau, 26 March, 2008 – At a remote police station in eastern Guinea-Bissau, Amandou Jau, 12, waited patiently to be reunited with his father. Amandou had been rescued from the clutches of a child trafficker who had sought to smuggle him across the border into Senegal.
Help for children psychologically affected by war in Chechnya
SHALI, Chechen Republic, Russian Federation, 3 March 2008 – Zarema, 10, lives with her parents in the war-torn Chechnya region of Russia. Her story highlights the ways in which children are affected by war, and the need for mental health and psychosocial support in emergency situations.
Executive Director says stability is bringing progress for children in Sierra Leone
FREETOWN/MAKENI, Sierra Leone, 29 February 2008 – As she wrapped up a three-day official visit here yesterday, UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman said Sierra Leone’s stability was bringing progress for children after a decade of conflict.
Executive Director visits programmes bringing hope to war-affected Liberian children
MONROVIA, Liberia, 27 February 2008 – UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman has just completed a visit here to gain firsthand insights into the situation of children in post-conflict Liberia.
UNICEF Ambassador Lucy Liu collaborates with young artists at ‘Maria’s Children’
MOSCOW, Russia, 25 February 2007 – Lucy Liu is a woman of many talents. The world-famous actress and US Fund for UNICEF National Ambassador is also a musician, a martial artist and, of course, a pre-eminent advocate for children. Last week in Moscow, she demonstrated her artistic skills as well, during a visit to ‘Maria’s Children,’ a unique art studio in the city’s centre.
Following post-election conflict, thousands of children miss the first day of school
NAIROBI, Kenya, 24 January 2008 – The violence that erupted in the aftermath of last year’s disputed presidential elections has made life chaotic for many in Kenya.
UNICEF Germany ‘Photo of the Year’ raises awareness about early marriage
NEW YORK, USA, 24 December 2007 – US photographer Stephanie Sinclair is the winner of this year’s ‘Photo of the Year’ competition presented by the German National Committee for UNICEF.
UNICEF Kenya brings children’s issues to election campaign platform
NAIROBI, Kenya, 17 December 2007 – Four hundred children, their teachers and UNICEF staff members brought a section of Kenya’s capital to a standstill as they marched through the streets with music and banners proclaiming their arrival.
Protecting children’s rights where they are not enshrined by treaty
HARGEISA, Somalia, 29 November 2007 – The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) turned 18 last week – a momentous occasion for children all around the world. It was of particular interest to youths in Somalia, one of only two countries in the world that have not ratified the CRC.
In troubled Darfur, children raise their voices to defend their rights
NORTH DARFUR, Sudan, 27 November 2007 – Amidst the sandstorms, heat, dust and insecurity of Darfur, the voices of hundreds of children rang out as they delivered key messages on the rights of children during the 18th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
For homeless Russian children, hope and help to get off the streets
MOSCOW, Russia, 26 November 2007 – Farukh, 12, has lived on the street for over a year with his mother. They came to Moscow from Izhevsk, a small town in the Russian region of Udmurtia. He says there is no way they would ever go back, because his grandmother was always angry and drunk.
Help for children psychologically affected by war in Chechnya
SHALI, Chechen Republic, Russian Federation, 21 November 2007 – Zarema, 10, lives with her parents in the war-torn Chechnya region of Russia. Her story highlights the ways in which children are affected by war, and the need for mental health and psychosocial support in emergency situations.
New book, launched at UNICEF, examines legal framework for child rights
NEW YORK, USA, 20 November 2007 – A new guide examining various strategies for implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in different legal systems worldwide was launched today at UNICEF House in New York.
UN task force unveils mental health guidelines for healing communities in emergencies
NEW YORK, USA, 20 November 2007 – The heavy burden of mental health and psychosocial needs in emergencies causes significant problems for children and families around the world. Until recently, however, no comprehensive mental health guidelines were available for field workers on the ground during emergencies.
On CRC anniversary, Ishmael Beah appointed UNICEF Advocate for Children Affected by War
NEW YORK, USA, 20 November 2007 – UNICEF’s first Advocate for Children Affected by War, Ishmael Beah, has pledged to give a voice and hope to children whose lives have been scarred by violence.
In Guinea-Bissau, a victim of female genital mutilation/cutting calls for its end
BISSAU, Guinea-Bissau, 13 November 2007 – Nhima Cisse, now 42, was 8 years old when she was cut. “I can never forget the pain and trauma I went through that day,” she says.
At ‘Machel plus 10’ launch, children have their say about conflict
NEW YORK, 1 November 2007 – About 1,700 children from 92 countries contributed to a report that accompanied the recently launched UN review that highlights the devastating impact of armed conflict on the lives of millions of children.
As UNICEF names spokesperson on child violence, UN report offers signs of hope
NEW YORK, USA, 19 October 2007 – An update presented to the UN General Assembly today shows that progress is being made towards eradicating some of the worst forms of violence against children. The report comes just as UNICEF has appointed Tony Award-winning actress Sarah Jones as its first Spokesperson on Violence against Children.
‘Machel plus 10’ review says war becoming even more dangerous for children
NEW YORK, 17 October 2007 – A new UN report highlights the devastating impact that dozens of low-level conflicts are having on the lives of millions of children around the world.
Maisha’s story: Former child soldier reclaims his life in DR Congo
GOMA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 16 October 2007 – Maisha (not his real name) was 15 when he joined the Mayi-Mayi militia, a loose coalition of Congolese soldiers that emerged a decade ago in opposition to the Rwandan-backed Rassemblement Congolais pour la Démocratie (RCD).
Masika’s story: Child combatant in DR Congo recalls the emptiness of army life
GOMA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 11 October 2007 – Masika (not her real name) was only 13 when she decided to join the Rassemblement Congolais pour la Démocratie (RCD) militia in eastern DR Congo. She joined because her mother had recently died. She also liked the uniforms the soldiers were wearing.
Voix du Coeur Centre provides a safe haven for Bangui’s street children
BANGUI, Central African Republic, 10 October 2007 – Walking through Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, it is impossible to miss the large number of children weaving amongst the vendors, taxis and commuters. Dozens of children can be seen working and begging in the streets they call home.
UNICEF supports child-friendly policies on juvenile justice in Mongolia
ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia, 28 September 2007 - In Ulaanbaatar, the bustling capital of Mongolia, five dishevelled children dart across the dusty pavement of the streets and pry open a heavy iron manhole cover. They slip into a narrow hole deep below the city – for now, this is where these children are living.
More nations commit to 'Paris Principles' on ending the trauma of child soldiers
NEW YORK, 1 October 2007 – Seven more nations have joined an international commitment to stop the recruitment of children in armed conflict.
Summer youth camps promote peace in the North Caucasus
MOSCOW, Russia, 24 September 2007 – Tolerance, peace and living in a multi-ethnic society were the themes of five summer camps organized by UNICEF and local authorities in four of Russia’s North Caucasian republics – Ingushetia, Dagestan, North Ossetia and Kabardino-Balkaria. Over 500 children took part in the programme this year.
Stop Child Abuse campaign asks for change at a policy level
LILONGWE, Malawi, 20 September 2007 – Many children in Malawi continue to be exploited and abused by the very people who should be protecting them. One year ago, 15-year-old Mary (not her real name) lost both her parents to HIV-related illnesses. She was taken in by an uncle who promised to care for her, but instead was turned into a servant and asked to work on her uncle's farm.
Moscow hosts Cities for Children conference and signs on to become child-friendly
MOSCOW, Russian Federation, 7 September 2007 – Seventy per cent of all Russian children live in urban areas. An eighth of them – some 1.6 million children – live in the capital, Moscow, which this week hosted a two-day global conference on urban child protection.
UNICEF Executive Director says female genital cutting must be “consigned to history”
NEW YORK, USA, 6 September 2007 – In an opinion piece yesterday in the Modesto Bee, a daily newspaper published in her home state of California, UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman assailed female genital cutting as “one of many harmful practices that have their roots in discrimination” against girls and women.
At regional forum, Latin America unites to recognize children’s first right – to identity
ASUNCION, Paraguay, 29 August 2007 – Throughout Latin America, one in six children does not legally exist because he or she was not registered at birth. That means almost 2 million of the approximately 11 million annual births in the region are not registered.
Insecurity has not dampened children’s aspirations in Central African Republic
EN ROUTE TO PAOUA, Central African Republic, July 2007 – Our convoy stopped on the dirt road intersecting the northwestern village of Nana Barya. Climbing out of the car, we were confronted by the burnt ruins of a village. In the entrance of one house lay a tiny child’s sandal, left behind in the fracas of flight.
Pilot project provides a community-sentencing alternative for young offenders
DUSHANBE, Tajikistan, 2 August 2007 – We drive along in a shabby suburb of Tajikistan’s capital, Dushanbe. There is nothing remarkable about this neighbourhood. The low-rise urban landscape is a legacy of the Soviet era.
UNICEF aids release of children from rebel forces in Central African Republic
GORDIL, Central African Republic, 2 August 2007 – “When I shot them I felt dizzy and passed out,” recalls Ahmed, a soldier who claims he is 16, though he looks much younger.
Justice and support for victims of child sexual abuse in Indonesia
LOMBOK, Indonesia, 2 August 2007 – Lombok is a picturesque tropical island, one of thousands that make up the Indonesian archipelago. But behind the beauty lies the issue of child abuse, a hidden crime that affects the most vulnerable in the form of violence in the home and at school, child labour and sexual abuse.
At Sofia Consultation, governments in South East Europe embrace child-care reform
SOFIA, Bulgaria, 30 July 2007 – “I would describe it as a paradigm shift,” says UNICEF Child Protection Specialist Dita Reichenberg, referring to outcomes from the first regional consultation on child care system reform in South East Europe.
Youth-driven discussion panel seeks ways to end child trafficking in Botswana
KASANE, Botswana, 23 July 2007 – Last month, about 25 children from Kasane took part in a forum to discuss the issue of combating child trafficking with their local community leaders. The youth discussion panel, which was organised by UNICEF Botswana, was held in commemoration of this year’s Day of the African Child, of which child trafficking is the main focus.
Experimental apartment declared a successful alternative to orphanages
RUSTAVI, Georgia, 17 July 2007 - In a town that time seems to have forgotten, there is a building that hasn’t seen much care for years. But seven floors up, UNICEF helped renovate an apartment for an experiment that has already begun to change the lives of children in Georgia.
Centre for struggling mothers aims to break the cycle of child abandonment in Ukraine
KYIV, Ukraine, 12 July 2007 – Oksana’s life had never been easy. After having grown up in an orphanage and struggling to make a stable life as an adult, she found herself pregnant and alone. After giving birth prematurely to a daughter, Marynka, she and her baby were hospitalized for a month.
Under the façade of religious study, children fall victim to trafficking
GABU, Guinea-Bissau, 9 July 2007 – Fande Djaló was sent to Senegal as a child ‘talibé’, or student of Islam, when he was only six years old. In Guinea-Bissau, where almost half of the population is Muslim, it is becoming a tradition for children – mostly boys from 5 to 15 years of age – to study abroad under a Koranic master.
‘Les inséparables’ films help combat child trafficking in Benin and worldwide
COTONOU, Benin, 10 July 2007 – ‘Les inséparables’ tells the story of brother and sister Yawa, 12, and Abi, 9, who are sold to a female child trafficker by their father without their mother’s knowledge.
Children’s centres provide an alternative approach to juvenile justice in Tajikistan
DUSHANBE, Tajikistan, 9 July 2007 – Just as our interview is about to begin, the telephone rings and with it vanishes the charming smile that lights up Abdul’s face. He senses that his mother is on the other end of the line.
Youth journalists in Burundi interview their president on child trafficking
BUJUMBURA, Burundi, 27 June 2007 – After a recent public outcry, the goal of ending child trafficking has been strongly backed by Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza.
Making every child count in the streets of Kolkata, India
KOLKATA, India, 22 June 2007 – In a unique initiative to protect street children from exploitation and ensure their rights, birth certificates were awarded to 50,000 youths from underprivileged neighbourhoods at a glittering ceremony in Kolkata this week.
Yemen at the forefront of regional debate on child abuse and neglect
SANA’A, Yemen, 20 June 2007 – The discussion about persistent forms of violence perpetrated against children in the Arab world places Yemen in a crucial position. Though challenges remain, initiatives to combat manifestations of child abuse here have proven both effective and sustainable.
UNICEF and partners aid child labourers and fight trafficking in Niger
NIAMEY, Niger, 15 June 2007 – The sight of children toiling in the streets is part of the daily landscape here in Niger’s capital. In one of the poorest countries in the world, two-thirds of children under the age of 14 work.
Child trafficking in Côte d’Ivoire: Efforts under way to reverse a tragic trend
NEW YORK, USA, 14 June 2007 – UNICEF’s Representative in Côte d’Ivoire, Youssouf Oomar, says trafficking is a grave child-protection concern in that country and throughout West Africa.
Queen Rania, Eminent Advocate for Children, visits child health centre in Morocco
FEZ, Morocco, 2 June, 2007 – On the second day of her official trip to the Kingdom of Morocco, Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan, UNICEF’s Eminent Advocate for Children, took time out to visit the Doukara Health Centre in the heart of one of the country’s most underprivileged neighbourhoods.
Queen Rania, Eminent Advocate for Children, shares Morocco’s successes
FEZ, Morocco, 1 June 2007 – Morocco is committed to the achievement of quality education, protection and a decent life for its children. During an official visit to the Kingdom, Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan today witnessed examples of innovative projects being implemented here.
At regional launch of violence study, Kenyan children say ‘no’ to corporal punishment
NAIROBI, Kenya, 31 May 2007 – The UN Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children has been launched here by Kenyan Vice-President Moody Awori at an event attended by donors, non-governmental organization representatives and UN officials.
Children face dangers as they try to cross desert into U.S.
ALTAR, Mexico, 24 May 2007 – For countless Latinos, the road to the American Dream has a short-cut through a tiny farming community about an hour-and-a-half south of the U.S.-Mexico border. Word has travelled throughout Latin America that if you're looking for a guide to help you illegally navigate the desert into the United States, you'll find him in Altar.
Child Soldiers Demobilized in the Central African Republic
NEW YORK, USA, 21 May 2007 – On Thursday, UNICEF announced that negotiations have started with rebel armed groups in the northeast of the Central African Republic for child soldiers to be released and returned to their families.
UNICEF Sri Lanka reaches out to children and families displaced by escalating conflict
NEW YORK, USA, 16 May 2007 – UNICEF is playing an increasing role in addressing the psychosocial needs of children affected by ongoing violence in Sri Lanka.
UNICEF and ECHO reintegrate child soldiers in Côte d’Ivoire, and Béoué is ready for success
BÉOUÉ VILLAGE, Côte d’Ivoire, 15 May 2007 – Béoué, 18, is slender and looks rather small for his age. When he is carrying the mud for the chicken coop that he and his friends are building, it becomes clear how strong he actually is. He is obviously used to organizing activities and delegating responsibility, so the coop is built quickly.
Lawmakers inspired by field visit to UNICEF Indonesia projects
LOMBOK, Indonesia, 15 May 2007 – More than a dozen lawmakers from around the world took time out from the recent Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly held in Bali to take a firsthand look at UNICEF projects on neighbouring Lombok Island.
UNICEF and Government of Chad reach accord raising hopes for children in armed conflict
NEW YORK, 11 May 2007 – UNICEF and the Government of Chad signed an accord this week to work to demobilize child soldiers throughout the country.
Providing basic services to Gabon’s ‘people of the forest’
ESSENG, Gabon, 9 May 2007 – On a beautiful recent morning in this remote village in northern Gabon, men sat in the ‘corps de garde’ in the town square and women stood nearby with apprehensive but happy children running around them.
Hip-hop documentary brings home clear-cut truths about ‘blood diamonds’
NEW YORK, USA, 2 May 2007 – There’s no end to clichés about diamonds. They’re forever. They’re a girl’s best friend. And recently, the term ‘blood diamonds’ has become commonplace, representing the fact that many armed conflicts in Africa have been funded by the sale of diamonds.
UNICEF Executive Board witnesses progress for at-risk children in Kyrgyzstan
ISSYK-ATINSKIY, Kyrgyzstan, 1 May 2007 – Following on the heels of missions earlier this year to Liberia, Panama and Peru, members of the UNICEF Executive Board have just returned from Kyrgyzstan, where they visited UNICEF-supported projects to help at-risk children and families.
Author of UN violence study advocates child rights at criminal justice conference
NEW YORK, USA, 27 April, 2007 – Professor Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, the Independent Expert behind the UN Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children and a world-renowned advocate of child rights, attended the 16th Session of the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice this week in Vienna, Austria.
UNICEF and partners help child domestic workers in Haiti regain their rights
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 20 April 2007 – Andre does not know his real name nor how old he is. His mother died when he was young and he says he was sent to work for another family because his father was unable to take care of him.
Institutionalized children return home to family life in Georgia
TIANETI, Georgia, 19 April 2007 – Child welfare reform in Georgia could soon achieve a 40 per cent reduction in the number of institutionalized children around the country.
Mine awareness campaign aims to save lives and limbs in Nepal
KAVRE, Nepal, 13 April 2007 – An innocent game of football turned deadly when three young boys accidentally set off an explosive device buried in the ground.
Billboards depict a child’s perspective of life in Chechnya, Russian Federation
NEW YORK, USA, 13 April 2007 – Fourteen billboards funded by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) have been set up by UNICEF in Chechnya.
Drumming up pride among post-war Burundi’s street children
BUJUMBURA, Burundi, 9 April 2007 – Thierry is known at the Stamm Foundation as the boy who shook hands with Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General. That was last year at the Fifth African Development Forum in Addis Ababa, when the young drummers of ‘Les Tambourinaires’ performed at a farewell reception for Mr. Annan.
International Day for Mine Awareness draws global attention to landmines
NEW YORK, USA, 4 April 2007 – A simulated mine field in the shadow of the UN building, and an exhibition of landmines and explosives of all shapes and sizes. These were just two of the ways in which the United Nations marked the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, a day aimed at focusing global attention on the danger of these legacies of war and to mark the progress towards their eradication.
Football match scores against landmines on Landmine Awareness Day in Sudan
KHARTOUM, Sudan, 4 April 2007- Under a scorching sun, and amidst the dust of a makeshift soccer pitch, the crowd of some 800 spectators in Al Salam camp for internally displaced persons roars as the third goal, an equalizer, hits the back of the net.
Deadly landmines threaten the lives and well-being of children in rural Colombia
NEW YORK, USA, 4 April 2007 – Nearly six years ago, when Irma Janeth was 10, she accidentally set her left foot on a landmine while walking through the woods in her hometown of Quebradona, rural Colombia. The explosion tore off one of her legs instantly, and left her unable to bear children.
Young Palestinians mark Palestinian Child’s Day by speaking out against violence
BETHLEHEM, Occupied Palestinian Territory, 4 April 2007 – Hundreds of children will mark Palestinian Child’s Day on Thursday by gathering in Gaza and Ramallah and speaking out against violence. The young activists have also arranged to speak to a panel of high-level officials to request they take the lead in protecting children from the ongoing violence.
With participation of disabled youth, UN treaty on the rights of the disabled signed
NEW YORK, USA, 2 April 2007 – A new treaty to ensure the human rights of the estimated 650 million people in the world with disabilities opened for signature on March 30 during a special session of the United Nations General Assembly.
Nicaraguan Digital Diarist interviews peers about abuse and discrimination
NEW YORK, USA, 30 March 2007 – Jorge Luis Contreras, 16, who lives in Esteli, northern Nicaragua, is an avid interviewer. For several years now, he has been part of Radio Cumiches, a youth radio group.
UN panel explores the legacy of the slave trade on the 200th anniversary of abolition
NEW YORK, New York, 27 March 2007 – Communities torn apart, millions of lives lost and bonded, and generations of Africans stripped of their native heritage – this is the legacy of the transatlantic slave trade, which accounted for one of the longest and widest-ranging human tragedies in history.
Lights, camera, action! South Africa hosts 5th World Summit on Media for Children
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, 27 March 2007 – It was lights, camera and loads of action as the 5th World Summit on Media for Children opened here on Saturday evening. People of all ages and nationalities descended upon the Sandton Convention Centre for an evening of music, dance, festivities and, of course, food.
UN Special Representative commends demobilization of child soldiers in Burundi
BUJUMBURA, Burundi, 27 March, 2007 – The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, has commended Burundi for its demobilization of child soldiers, and UNICEF is part of the success story.
Young Moldovan mother who survived trafficking struggles to recover
CHISINAU, Moldova, 26 March 2007– Beaten throughout her childhood in Moldova, Ana, now 21, left home in despair at the age of 12. As a result, she became a victim of trafficking.
Child exploitation and Guinea worm result from lack of safe water in Ghana
ACCRA, Ghana, 14 March 2007 – Savelugu, a small town in the Savelugu-Nanton District of Ghana’s Northern Region, used to enjoy a regular supply of clean water – before the water system was no longer able to meet the needs of a growing population.
Sexual violence afflicts the lives of children at a school in central Kenya
NAIROBI, Kenya, 13 March 2007 – UNICEF’s recently appointed Goodwill Ambassador for Eastern and Southern Africa, the hip-hop star Zola, thought he had seen it all. Born as Bonginkonsi Dlamini in Zola, a crime-ridden neighbourhood in Soweto, South Africa, he grew up surrounded by hunger, poverty, violence and guns.
At Burkinabe festival, youth jury gives UNICEF award to child rights film
OUAGADOUGOU, Burkino Faso, 12 March 2007 – At an awards ceremony held here earlier this month, during FESPACO, Africa’s largest film festival, UNICEF honoured ‘Un matin bonne heure’ (Early One Morning) with a prize for the promotion of child rights. Guinean director Gahité Fofana received the UNICEF trophy and 2 million CFA francs.
Helping Roma mothers raise healthy, educated children
SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 8 March 2007 ─ Deep-seated discriminatory practices persist in southeastern Europe against nearly 1 million Roma children in the region, according to a new UNICEF report that seeks to raise awareness of the extent to which these children suffer from social exclusion.
Marginalized girls take centre stage at UN panel on unleashing their potential
NEW YORK, USA, 6 March 2007 – A panel of young women dedicated to improving the lives of marginalized girls shared their experiences during a panel discussion at United Nations headquarters this afternoon.
‘Stop Rape Now’: UN agencies against sexual violence as a tactic of war
NEW YORK, USA, 5 March 2007 – Impassioned pleas to end the use of sexual violence against women during armed conflict were heard at United Nations headquarters in New York this afternoon. They came as part of a panel discussion kicking off a new multi-agency initiative to investigate and intensify the UN’s response to sexual violence in war.
Civil unrest in Guinea leads to rapes of women and children
CONAKRY, Guinea, 5 March 2007 – When Adelaid’s mother had to leave Conakry last month to forage for kola nuts, she left her in the care of an uncle to protect her from the violence that had overtaken Guinea’s capital city.
A former child soldier speaks out at UN session on challenges facing girls
NEW YORK, USA, 2 March 2007 – The striking testimony of a girl who was formerly a child soldier brought an audience of hundreds to its feet for a standing ovation – and moved many to tears – at United Nations headquarters in New York this afternoon.
Child migrant workers in Mexico miss out on education and a safe environment
SINALOA STATE, Mexico, 2 March 2007 – For migrant farm workers, the work day often begins long before the sun rises. Today, Javier and a few of the other workers huddle around a fire for warmth until the boss arrives and signals them to start working.
German Government donation to aid vulnerable youth in Zimbabwe
ZIMBABWE, 26 February 2007 – Tinashe was just eight when he lost his mother to AIDS. His father disappeared soon after her burial, leaving Tinashe and his younger brother in the care of their ailing grandmother.
Amid unrest in Guinea, boy shot while playing football
CONAKRY, Guinea, 23 February 2007 – Mamadou Sidi Diallo woke up one morning last month thinking only about the football game he was going to play that day with his friends. By that night he was lying in a hospital bed, paralyzed on the left side by a bullet from uniformed men who shot at him and his friends on the field.
UNICEF Executive Director visits child-centred projects in Egypt
NEW YORK, USA, 20 February 2007 – UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman has commended Egypt’s progress towards advancing child rights at the end of a three-day visit to the country.
Minister of Education urges international support for recovery in post-conflict Liberia
NEW YORK, USA, 16 February 2007 – Having emerged from an almost 15-year civil conflict, Liberia is now gathering international support to help bring hope and a better future to its children and women.
UNICEF hosts book launch for Ishmael Beah, former child soldier
NEW YORK, USA, 16 February 2006 – Ishmael Beah, a former child soldier from Sierra Leone, is no stranger to talking before an audience. He has travelled the world speaking out and galvanizing international efforts to rehabilitate children caught in conflict.
Burkina Faso training centre helps protect young women from exploitation
TOUGAN, Burkina Faso, 16 February 2007 – Seated on an old-fashioned bamboo chair with her eyes downcast, Djerma Salimata, 20, does not seem eager to think back to the time when she worked as house help in Bobo Dioulasso, the second largest city in Burkina Faso.
Net Safety Day 2007: Child protection in cyberspace
NEW YORK, USA, 6 February 2007 – The Internet provides children with new ways to express themselves, learn and build friendships – but it also poses risks.
Paris conference makes historic commitment to liberate children from war
PARIS, France, 6 February 2007 – Fifty-eight countries represented at a high-level conference in Paris today committed themselves to stopping the unlawful recruitment and use of children in armed conflicts.
At Paris conference, a former child soldier demands help for children in armed conflict
PARIS, France, 5 February 2007 – A former child soldier from Sierra Leone today implored delegates at an international conference on children and armed conflict to help rehabilitate young people like him.
Liberating Liberia’s war generation
MONROVIA, Liberia, 5 February 2007 – Brutal marks of war and neglect are stark in Liberia’s capital, but unseen is the damage to an entire generation.
Republic of San Marino honours UNICEF and Belizean children’s group
NEW YORK, USA, 2 February 2007 – The Republic of San Marino last night honoured UNICEF for being a leading advocate for children over the past 60 years.
UNICEF ‘mini-reporters’ help launch anti-violence campaign in El Salvador
NEW YORK, USA, 19 January 2007 – No one is better qualified to report on children’s issues than children themselves. This was the idea behind the UNICEF-supported ‘mini-reporters’ news show in El Salvador, a pilot created to showcase children’s points of view on issues they face.
Sex tourism in Kenya: One girl’s story
MOMBASA, Kenya, 20 December 2006 – “If my father knew that I do this, he would kill me,” says Annie (not her real name). “But he does not provide enough for me and my daughter, so I have to do this to make some extra cash.”
Report reveals Kenyan child sex industry of ‘horrific’ magnitude
NEW YORK, USA, 19 December 2006 – A report on Kenyan sex tourism has revealed that up to 30 per cent of teenagers in some Kenyan coastal areas are involved in casual sex for cash.
Kenia’s story: Fighting sexual violence against children in Madagascar
DIEGO SUAREZ, Madagascar, 14 December 2006 – Outside the Diego Suarez hospital on the extreme northern tip of Madagascar, a savage wind is blowing off the Indian Ocean. Inside the run-down colonial building, a young girl lies on a drip looking withered and crumbled, the victim of a savage act.
Protecting young women from human trafficking in Viet Nam
LANG SON, Viet Nam, 7 December 2006 – Nguyen Thi Phuong cherishes her new role as a mother. At 45, she’s older than most Vietnamese women raising their first child, but that hardly matters.
‘Blood Diamond’ film screening highlights the plight of child soldiers
NEW YORK, USA, 1 December 2006 – Forced into armed combat in Sierra Leone during the 1990s, a young boy has been transformed into a soldier. His father struggles to free him from the dangerous life he has been pushed into.
Moldovan youths ‘act out’ with the Social Theatre Initiative
CHISINAU, Moldova, 21 November 2006 – A group of strangers watches silently as a 15-year-old girl is pressured into drinking vodka and doing drugs.
Angolan landmine survivors build a school and look to the future
ANDULO, Bié Province, Angola, 20 November 2006 – The community-built school in Andulo’s Bairro Agostinho Neto is a simple adobe structure but it has made its builders proud. Many of the villagers are landmine survivors for whom construction work is no easy task.
UN violence study launched in Latin America and the Caribbean
PANAMA CITY, Panama, 20 November 2006 – A landmark study on violence against children has been presented to government leaders and experts in Panama.
In Senegal, Executive Director sees community action to end female genital cutting
KEUR SIMBARA, Senegal, 13 November 2006 – On a visit to Senegal, Executive Director Ann M. Veneman has witnessed firsthand how UNICEF and its partners are using a community-based approach to empower women and children – notably on the issue of female genital mutilation, or cutting (FGM/C).
Shakira launches UNICEF regional campaign to protect children from violence
NEW YORK, USA, 7 November 2006 – At San Salvador’s Sports Palace, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and singer-songwriter Shakira greeted thousands of Salvadoran students who took part in a march against violence on Sunday.
Healthy-living education builds teens’ confidence across Viet Nam
LANG SON, Viet Nam, 3 November 2006 – Balancing a pair of watering pails with a stick across her shoulders, Ma Thi Nut navigates through a cabbage field, tilting to wet crops on both sides of a narrow path.
Youth centre helps spread messages of peace in Dili, Timor-Leste
DILI, Timor-Leste, 2 November 2006 – Elio Da Costa, 14, took a few steps back to study his handiwork and then moved forward again to add some finishing touches. He was busy painting messages of peace and non-violence on the walls of St. Joseph Minor Seminary here in the capital of Timor-Leste.
‘Stop the Violence’ campaign helps Kenyan teen escape sexual abuse
NAIVASHA, Kenya, 18 October 2006 – Watching Dorcas (not her real name) play hide-and-seek with the younger children, one sees a picture of a big, happy family. However, life for the 14-year-old girl, the first-born in a family of five children, has not always been picture perfect.
Lack of jobs in Moldova leaves children without parental care
RUBLENITA, Moldova, 17 October 2006 – At least 500,000 of Moldova’s 3.6 million people have left the country in search of work. Left behind are an estimated 150,000 to 270,000 children without either a mother or a father, and around 40,000 who are separated from both parents.
‘Stop Violence’ campaign in Kenya leads to increased reporting of abuses
NAIROBI, Kenya, 16 October 2006 – Two months after the ‘Stop Violence against Children’ campaign launched in Kenya, there has been a sharp increase in the number of reported cases of violence.
UN Secretary-General urges action to stop violence against children
NEW YORK, USA, 12 October 2006 – One of the most detailed studies ever produced about the effects of violence on children has been launched in New York. The UN Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children shows that millions around the world are being subjected to the worst forms of abuse with little or no protection.
Protecting children from sexual violence in Comoros
ANJOUAN, Comoros, 12 October 2006 – Fatima Bacar Abdallah is a woman with a mission – to rid her community of violence against children.
Helping children heal the scars of war in Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley
KHERBET KANAFAR, Lebanon, 11 October 2006 – The sun shone on smiling young faces as a local country club was transformed into an Activity Fair for children living in Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley last week.
Media projects help Moldovan youth offenders
LIPCANI, Moldova, 11 October 2006 – The Minors' Penitentiary in Lipcani, Moldova looks like – and is – a harsh place. It is the only youth penitentiary in the country.
UN Secretary-General's study urges action to stop violence against children
NEW YORK, USA, 12 October 2006 – One of the most detailed studies of violence against children ever conducted shows that millions around the world are being subjected to the worst forms of abuse with little or no protection.
Digital Diary: A youth anti-violence activist in the Philippines tells her story
NEW YORK, USA, 10 October 2006 – Cora Buala, a 19-year-old activist in the Philippines, spent several weeks using a MiniDisc recorder to document her thoughts and conversations on violence against children for UNICEF Radio.
Community non-violence workshops protect Palestinian children
NEW YORK, USA, 10 October 2006 – In the streets of Nablus in the West Bank, a group of Palestinian adolescents chat animatedly, on their way to a special workshop promoting non-violence.
Peer-counselling programme in Malaysia mentors at-risk children
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, 9 October 2006 - For young people around the world, being a teenager is one of the most challenging times in life. When faced with difficult situations such as discrimination, substance abuse or violence, they need trusted role models for guidance.
Educating communities, protecting children from violence in Madagascar
MAHAJANGA, Madagascar, 6 October 2006 – Haingo (not her real name) is 16 years old. A few months ago, while her mother was at the market selling handicrafts and her younger brother was at school, she was raped in her own home.
A day of celebrating peace for Sri Lankan children caught in conflict
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, 26 September 2006 – It was a day of hope for Sri Lanka’s children. On 21 September, thousands of children celebrated the UN International Day of Peace amid an escalating conflict that has displaced hundreds of thousands of people across the country.
Madagascar’s children speak out for peace
ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar, 22 September 2006 – Dozens of children have taken part in the first celebration in Madagascar of the United Nations International Day of Peace. The annual observance on 21 September is intended as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence.
Dropping guns for books in Haiti
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 21 September 2006 – A back-to-school campaign has brought new hope to the children of Cité Soleil, the seaside slum in the Haitian capital that has long been regarded as one of most violent neighbourhoods in the whole Western Hemisphere.
Sri Lankan children and families traumatized by continuing conflict
BATTICALOA, Sri Lanka, 13 September 2006 – At a relief camp in Batticaloa, eastern Sri Lanka, 14-year-old Sanjan recounted the ordeal he and his family had endured.
With prospects of peace in northern Uganda, displaced families yearn for home
GULU DISTRICT, Uganda, 7 September 2006 – For nearly 20 years, peace has been an elusive dream for 1.8 million people living in conflict-affected northern Uganda.
Milly’s story: A new life after a childhood caught in war
GULU, Uganda, 30 August 2006 – Milly Auma was taken from her community by the Lord’s Resistance Army when she was still in primary school. It was 10 years before she was able to escape – and by that time she had two children of her own. But instead of being welcomed when she returned home to Gulu, many in her village rejected her.
Education and awareness make progress against female genital cutting in Kenya
NAIROBI, Kenya, 24 August 2006 – In the North Eastern Province of Kenya, UNICEF is helping communities abandon the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM), or cutting, which is still inflicted upon the vast majority of girls in the province.
Zhengzhou centre reaches out with care and support for street children
ZHENGZHOU, China, 24 August 2006 – For quite some time, the train station in Zhengzhou was 14-year-old Xie Pei's only home. After having problems with his family, he ran away and came to this big city, the capital of China’s most populated province, Henan.
Kenya’s ‘Stop the Violence’ campaign aims to protect children at risk
NEW YORK, USA, 22 August 2006 – The ‘Stop the Violence against Children’ campaign got a further boost this past weekend in Naivasha, Kenya, during the first-ever community fair promoting the initiative.
Indonesian communities bring child labourers back into the classroom
NGEPUNG, Indonesia, 21 August 2006 – Sigit Wicaksono, 14, sits in front of a computer, trying to figure out the popular Excel software programme. Mastering Microsoft and modems is a new experience for him. His hands are used to hard labour, not handling a mouse.
Sri Lankan schoolgirls killed and injured amid escalating violence
NEW YORK, USA, 16 August 2006 – Children are being displaced, injured and killed as the violence in Sri Lanka intensifies. Dozens of schoolgirls reportedly lost their lives and many more suffered injuries this week when bombs hit a compound in Mullaitivu, a district in the northern part of the country.
Alliance aims for universal birth registration in Latin America and Caribbean
BOGOTA, Colombia, 8 August 2006 – Birth registration provides crucial protection to children, proving their identity and nationality and protecting them from exploitation and abuse – including child labour, trafficking and early marriage.
In a Thai-Cambodian border town, protecting trafficked children and women
ARANYAPRATHET, Thailand, 7 August 2006 – Aranyaprathet market, which the Thais call Rong Glua, is a sprawling village of shops and light industry employing some 10,000 people on the Thai side of the Thailand-Cambodia border.
Report by UNICEF and The Body Shop highlights impact of domestic violence on children
NEW YORK, 1 August 2006 – At least 275 million children worldwide are exposed to violence in their homes, according to a report released by UNICEF and The Body Shop International today.
Former child combatants need alternatives to soldiering
LUMUMBASHI, Democratic Republic of Congo, 26 July 2006 – Seventeen-year-old Jean lives in a modest house in Lumumbashi. In a spare room, he works with colourful cloth to expertly tailor a shirt. But Jean would much rather be making war than clothes.
Security Council reviews progress made in implementing Resolution 1612
NEW YORK, USA, 25 July 2006 – The United Nations Security Council met yesterday to review progress made in the implementation of a year-old resolution to better protect children in armed conflicts.
Counselling eases the pain for troubled children in Kyrgyzstan
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan, 13 July 2006 – Jyldyz, 12, recently visited her psychologist without an appointment. She came not as a client but as a friend, with a sense of pride, because she had something special to show: her sixth-grade diploma.
In Senegal, UNICEF and partners work to end the practice of child begging
DAKAR, Senegal, 14 July 2006 – Until recently, Serigne Oumar Diouf had been running a Koranic school here since 1962. “I would send children from my school out begging in the streets of Dakar for most of the day and would give them religious education in the mornings or evenings,” he says.
Sri Lanka campaign promotes ‘zero tolerance’ for child sex tourism
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, 13 July 2006 – Every year, over half a million tourists arrive in Sri Lanka drawn by its climate and coastline, and thousands of children, the majority of them boys, are lured into prostitution. Now, Sri Lanka has launched a two-year action plan to put an end to child sex tourism.
Life-skills training for young people displaced by violence in Timor-Leste
DILI, Timor-Leste, 12 July 2006 – When Jacinta dos Santos Guterres sought refuge at the São Jose Minor Seminary a month ago, she saw how frustrated children were at the camp for 1,500 people who fled their homes amid the recent violence in Timor-Leste.
Protecting children from the scourge of illicit small arms
NEW YORK, 10 July 2006 – The United Nations unanimously adopted a Programme of Action in 2001 committed to preventing, combating and eradicating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. Five years later – at an international conference that began on 26 June and concluded this past Friday – some 2,000 representatives of governments, international organizations and civil society gathered at United Nations headquarters in New York to review progress on the issue.
Battling an ancient tradition: Female genital mutilation in Ethiopia
FAFFAN, Ethiopia, 10 July 2006 – These days, Asmah, 6, and her friends Deca, Ferhia and Hassina are secluded from their community. Their legs are tied together and they are told to sleep as much as possible and not to wash; it will help heal their wounds, adults say.
West and Central African nations join forces to end child trafficking
ABUJA, Nigeria, 7 July 2006 – A multilateral accord against the trafficking of women and children was signed here yesterday, as UNICEF and its partners spearheaded a joint ministerial conference of 26 West and Central African countries, representatives of European governments, the International Labour Organization and the UN Office against Drugs and Crime.
Protecting the rights of China’s migrant children
SHI JIAZHUANG, China, 5 July 2006 – The most populous country in the world is on the move. It’s estimated that more than 10 per cent of China’s population has already left their villages and hometowns in search of a better life.
Nane Annan meets vulnerable girls in Freetown
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, 3 July 2006 – Accompanying her husband, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, on his third visit to Sierra Leone, Nane Annan visited a UNICEF-supported centre for vulnerable girls.
More than 200 Sudanese boys and girls head home after release from armed groups
JULUD, Sudan, 29 June 2006 – After two years spent in military barracks, Asha (not her real name), a Sudanese girl of barely 16, is finally going home.
Building a future for street children in the Central African Republic
BANGUI, Central African Republic, 27 June 2006 – “I want children in Bangui to learn from my own experience as a street child,” said 24-year-old Victor Yoongo.
Marie Paule’s story: Surviving life on the streets of Kinshasa, DR Congo
KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, 22 June 2006 – Marie Paule is in her first year of secondary school. At 14, children her age are usually in their second or even third year. The young teenager may be late in catching up, but she has come a long way.
Goodwill Ambassador Tetsuko Kuroyanagi visits children affected by conflict in Côte d’Ivoire
NEW YORK, USA, 22 June 2006 – UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Tetsuko Kuroyanagi has concluded a visit to Côte d’Ivoire, where she experienced firsthand the situation facing Ivorian children afflicted by civil conflict, including former child soldiers.
Sri Lanka: Upsurge in violence affects children
NEW YORK, 16 June 2006 - Yesterday a landmine exploded under a crowded bus in the northern part of Sri Lanka, killing upwards of 60 people, 18 of them children. It was just one of many recent examples of the violent daily reality of life on this island nation.
Coping with a legacy of violence in Sierra Leone
MAKENI, Sierra Leone, 15 June 2006 – The decade-long war in Sierra Leone, which left 50,000 dead, was one of Africa’s most brutal. Atrocities against women and children were commonplace. The war turned children into drugged killing machines, giving them power beyond their age.
Harm children no more: Why Africa must rediscover Soweto
SOWETO, South Africa, 15 June 2006 – I was born and raised in Soweto. My mother still lives here, a place whose heart and soul courses through my veins. Once the Soweto bug catches you, it never leaves.
World Day Against Child Labour puts spotlight on harmful effects
NEW YORK, 9 June 2006 – Millions of children worldwide are engaged in some kind of labour, many of them working in hazardous conditions. To focus global attention on the urgent need to eradicate this practice, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has designated 12 June as World Day Against Child Labour.
UNICEF opens first child protection centre in Indonesia quake zone
NEW YORK, USA, 31 May 2006 – Just three days after a devastating earthquake struck Central Java in Indonesia, UNICEF has opened the first child protection centre in the quake zone.
Young people from around the world gather to help end violence against children
NEW YORK, USA, 26 May 2006 – Harry Lopez, 18, is a sharp dresser from Venezuela with a lot to say about why violence has a terrible effect on children.
Babies in Iran registered for key services, thanks to mobile units
HORMOZGAN, Iran, 17 May 2006 – Hormozgan Province in the south of Iran is one of the most deprived in the country. In the rural areas, people work either as subsistence farmers or as manual labourers. Many villages lie far from the nearest town, set deep into the mountains, with little access to social services, including birth registration.
UNICEF Executive Director speaks out on the ‘silent tragedy’ of child sexual trafficking
NEW YORK, USA, 26 APRIL 2006 – As the keynote speaker at a conference on the problem of child sexual trafficking, UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman reaffirmed UNICEF’s commitment to creating a protective environment for children at risk of exploitation and abuse.
In Southern Sudan, 250 demobilized child soldiers trade weapons for textbooks
KHORFULUS, Jonglei State, Sudan, 25 April 2006 – "We are determined to demobilize all child soldiers this year," announced Executive Director Benjamin Gimba of the Southern Sudan Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Commission at a gathering here today.
Stigma of AIDS leads to killing of an orphaned Kenyan boy
NEW YORK, USA, 21 April 2006 – The murder of a 15-year-old orphan stigmatized for living with AIDS has led hundreds of protestors to take to the streets of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. The boy, Isaiah Gakuyo, had lost both his mother and grandmother to AIDS-related diseases. He was living with an uncle who allegedly stabbed him to death with a pitch-fork because of his HIV status.
Putting children first: Nepal’s national vitamin A campaign proceeds despite unrest
KATHMANDU, Nepal, 19 April 2006 – Despite the escalating political turmoil that has hit Nepal in recent weeks, a national distribution of vitamin A capsules and de-worming tablets started today. About 3.3 million Nepalese children, ranging in age from six months to five years, are expected to receive vitamin A capsules as part of the two-day nationwide campaign to protect children’s health by boosting their immune systems.
UNICEF supports initiatives to tackle trafficking of women and children in Thailand
CHIANG RAI, Thailand, 17 April 2006 – Sometimes they smiled and sometimes they looked grim, but at all times the young children of this primary school in Northern Thailand remained captivated by the drama.
Reclaiming childhood: UNICEF and partners protect child labourers in Egypt
ALEXANDRIA, Egypt, 11 April 2006 – It is mid-morning in one of Alexandria's bustling working-class neighbourhoods. In a small ironing and dry-cleaning shop, 14-year-old Ahmed is already hard at work. It has been one year since he began working here, joining the growing numbers of Egyptian children – an estimated 2.7 million between the ages of 6 and 14 – driven out of school and into the workforce by poverty or other circumstances.
Uzbekistan’s first Special Olympics challenges stigma against children with disabilities
NAVOI, Uzbekistan, 10 April 2006 – Over 90 young athletes from all over Uzbekistan came together in Navoi late last month to compete in a historic celebration, the country’s first-ever National Special Olympics.
International Day for Mine Awareness: A landmine-free world within reach
NEW YORK, USA, 4 April 2006 – Children could be free from the threat of landmines and other explosive remnants of war much sooner than previously thought. According to the ‘Landmine Monitor Report 2005’, between 15,000 and 20,000 people – at least 20 per cent of them children – are killed or maimed by these devices each year. But that number has been decreasing over the last decade.
Barbadian ‘Xchangers’ help youths adopt positive lifestyles and resolve conflicts
BARBADOS, 24 March 2006 - Violence among school children is a growing concern in Barbados, and UNICEF is helping peer groups tackle the problem. The Barbadian ‘Xchangers’ is one such group, which holds workshops and special events encouraging children to resolve conflict peacefully.
At Asia-Pacific birth registration conference, a pledge to reach every child
BANGKOK, Thailand, 17 March 2006 – In the shadow of Thailand’s remote northern foothills, thousands of people, many of them children, recently gathered at a human rights fair to claim their fundamental right to an identity.
Papua New Guinea’s juvenile justice reform is showing results
KUNDIAWA, Papua New Guinea, 10 March 2006 – Michael and his friend Samson were both 16 years old when their pursuit of adolescent mischief went too far. They got caught stealing plastic pipes in the town of Kundiawa in Papua New Guinea’s remote highlands. First they were beaten up by the police, then locked up in a prison cell, where they were bullied constantly by other inmates – all of them adults.
Sierra Leone: Children’s forum takes on trafficking and other concerns
MAKENI, Sierra Leone, 6 March 2006 – In the impoverished town of Makeni, in northern Sierra Leone, teenagers recently engaged in a lively discussion with UNICEF Representative for Sierra Leone Geert Cappelaere. Topping the agenda: the issue of child trafficking.
Liberia: A new start for children associated with fighting forces
BUCHANAN, Liberia, 1 March 2006 – The first of thousands of former child combatants have completed a UNICEF-backed rehabilitation programme to give them new skills for the future. One hundred and sixteen boys and girls have finished the nine-month training course in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.
First Arab regional workshop on combating child trafficking
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, 1 March 2006 – Participants at the first-ever workshop on combating child trafficking in the Arab world have called for the practice to be criminalized.
Former child soldiers still at risk as instability continues in Côte d’Ivoire
GNAKANZOU, Côte d’Ivoire, 22 February 2006 – Renewed violence in this West African nation divided by three years of civil and ethnic conflict has raised concerns that hundreds of demobilised former child combatants – those who have been returned to their communities – could once again be at risk of re-recruitment.
UN Independent Expert calls for ‘zero tolerance for violence against children’
NEW DELHI, India, 20 February 2006 – Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, the UN Secretary General’s Independent Expert on violence against children, says India can play a leading role in supporting the recommendations of the forthcoming global Study on the issue.
Helping orphans in Rwanda build a better future
KIGALI, Rwanda, 13 February 2006 – One of the greatest challenges facing Rwanda today is how to care for its massive population of orphans.
UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Rima Salah visits war-afflicted northern Uganda
NEW YORK, USA, 6 February 2006 – “What I want most is to go home. Can you please help us to go home?” pleaded 15-year-old Gladys. She was speaking to UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Rima Salah, at a shelter for ‘night commuters’ in Kitgum Town, northern Uganda. The night commuters are children who walk many miles each night to sleep in shelters instead of in their own homes, to avoid being abducted by rebels.
Mitigating the threat of unexploded ordnance to children
PAKSONG, Laos, 2 February 2006 – Sanchon and Andy have still not fully recovered from the day a bomb exploded at their feet. The two children had been tending to their family’s livestock when Sanchon picked up a round object in the grass.
Archbishop says children bearing the brunt of Uganda’s conflict
NEW YORK, USA, 31 January 2006 – Children are bearing the brunt of continuing conflict in northern Uganda, Archbishop of Gulu John Baptist Odama said in an interview at UNICEF House.
Protection centres offer quake-affected children a chance to leave trauma behind
HASNABAD CAMP, BAGH, Pakistan-administered Kashmir, 20 January 2006 – “Abda talks very little since the earthquake – she doesn’t seem interested in going to the camp school or to play. She often cries for her mother and little sister,” says Akbarbi, the little girl’s grandmother.
Ethiopia: Steady increase in street children orphaned by AIDS
BAHR DAR, Amhara Region, Ethiopia, 20 January 2006 – “The street has been my home since I can remember. It’s been more than one year since I moved here (Bahr Dar) and all this time, I have not seen one good thing about living on the street. Everything is horrible,” says 14-year-old Mandefro Kassa, who grew up as an orphan on the streets of Woreta, a provincial town in Ethiopia.
Preventing violence and lowering dropout rate in Mexico City schools
MEXICO CITY, Mexico, 9 January, 2005 – In a classroom in Mexico’s capital groups of children slide together scraps of paper marked with letters. The aim is to spell out words – but the class is less about spelling than human values. One of the words is ‘violence’, and the teacher reminds the children it can often happen in their own homes.
Former camel jockeys reclaiming their lost childhood
NEW YORK, USA, 6 January 2006 – After passing through the final security check point at the international airport in Dubai, a group of Pakistani boys are going back home at long last. Like thousands of other children from poor countries they were sent by their parents – and sometimes even trafficked – to the United Arab Emirates to work as camel jockeys. Enduring harsh living conditions and long working hours were once their daily routines.
Philippines Senate action builds hope for children in jail
PASAY CITY, Philippines, 16 December 2005 – The Philippine Senate has passed the Juvenile Justice Bill by a unanimous vote of 21-0 on its third and final reading last week.
Pakistan earthquake: UNICEF renews its fight against measles
NEW YORK, USA, 7 December 2005 – As the harsh Himalayan winter looms in quake-affected Pakistan, UNICEF is fighting both disease and plummeting temperatures.
Comoros: Breaking the silence about child abuse
MUTSAMUDU, Comoros, 2 December 2005 – ‘Young raped girl dies after her delivery’ read the headline of an article in the weekly Comorian newspaper ‘Kashkazi’. The article told the story of an 11-year-old girl who had been raped by her teacher at a Koranic school, became pregnant and died soon after giving birth. UNICEF Comoros conducted an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the young girl’s death.
Psychosocial care designed to help children affected by ongoing conflict
JERUSALEM, West Bank, 29 November 2005 - In Hebron’s Al Mutalabi school, boys aged between 5 and 14 are busy making paper masks and traditional ‘Tarbouch’ hats in the courtyard.
Ending female genital mutilation and cutting in Senegal
MATAM, Senegal, 24 November 2005 – The international non-governmental organization Tostan is working in Senegal to create dialogue within communities about female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C) through a holistic, basic education programme, conducted in local languages. As a result more than 1600 villages have collectively ended the practice of FGM/C – representing more than 30 per cent of the practicing population.
UNICEF-supported centres protect children affected by conflict
BOUAKÉ, Côte d’Ivoire, 20 November 2005 – Children are bearing the brunt of a three-year-long civil conflict that has divided this west African nation. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Bouaké, Côte d’Ivoire’s second largest city, which has been the scene of some of the worst clashes.
France’s Foreign Minister donates 2.5 million euros to UNICEF during his visit to quake-affected Pakistan
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, 21 November 2005 – France’s Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy has just completed an emergency visit to quake-affected Pakistan and donated 2.5 million euros to UNICEF. During a press conference in Islamabad, Mr. Douste-Blazy stated that, “France will continue its assistance to Pakistan in relief and rehabilitation efforts to help quake survivors.”
Sudan: Religious leader speaks out against female genital mutilation/cutting
“As I was discharging my duties, I heard loud cries and wailing coming from a hut. We abandoned our lesson and rushed to the noise. It was the hut of Sheikh Hajj al Basher, a respectable, good-hearted man who was married to a woman by the name of Zainab. Four years after their marriage, Allah had granted them a baby girl, whom they named Amna.
Special screening of ‘Innocent Voices’ – an award-winning film about a child caught up in war
NEW YORK, 7 October 2005 – The award-winning film ‘Innocent Voices’, depicting the life of a boy in El Salvador during the civil war, was shown at a special gala screening held at United Nations headquarters, introduced by UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman.
New report says children with disabilities in Eastern Europe often face a bleak existence
NEW YORK, 5 October 2005 – According to a new report released today by UNICEF, children with disabilities who live in Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CEE/CIS) often face a bleak existence behind institutional walls, isolated from their families and communities, and suffering from stigma and discrimination.
UNICEF-IPU child protection guide now available in Hindi
NEW DELHI, 3 October 2005 – A Hindi translation of the joint UNICEF/Inter-Parliamentary Union publication ‘Child Protection: A Handbook for Parliamentarians’ is now available in India.
Moldova: New options for disabled children
On 5 October UNICEF’s Innocenti Research Centre will release their latest report, entitled ‘Children and Disability in Transition in CEE/CIS’. The report examines the situation of children in the CEE/CIS region who have a variety of disabilities.
New moves to help children caught up in armed conflict
NEW YORK, 26 August 2005 – The United Nations has passed a new resolution that could help protect the millions of children affected by armed conflict around the world. It will establish a working group to gather information on some of the worst violations of children’s rights during armed conflict and report directly to the Secretary-General. It also requires both governments and armed groups to come up with time-bound plans of action to end these grave violations.
Freed from the sex trade, girls get a new start
NEW YORK, 26 August 2005 – Thousands of girls and young women pour into Manila every year in search of work to support their family. Lured by the promise of a better life, many fall prey to the city’s sex industry.
Swaziland: One girl’s personal account of abuse
The violent abuse of children is a crime no matter where or when it occurs. But in the countries of Eastern and Southern Africa, violence has a second, even darker dimension: Sexual assault is often the conduit for the spread of the HIV virus. Disturbingly, most of the abusers are people whose role is to protect and care for children – such as teachers and family members. Children who are the victims of sexual abuse risk being stigmatized if they speak out against their abusers.
Surviving abduction in Uganda's civil conflict
GULU DISTRICT, Uganda, 19 July 2005 –Janet recalls with horror what happened to her seven years ago. She was travelling with her mother when they were surprised and surrounded by armed militia belonging to Uganda’s rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Janet, only 12 at the time, was abducted.
Violence Against Children: UNICEF creates support network in Moldova
CHISINAU, Moldova, 28 June 2005 – UNICEF-supported efforts to reform Moldova’s approach to child protection are part of a global drive to protect young victims of abuse. The issue will be highlighted at the Consultation on Violence against Children in Europe and Central Asia, set to take place in Slovenia in early July.
Children speak up against violence
CAIRO, 29 June 2005 – Children’s voices are being heard loud and clear at the UN-sponsored Conference on Violence Against Children here in Cairo. Twenty-seven adolescent boys and girls spoke up in front of more than 200 delegates to proclaim that any form of violence used against children must end now, no matter whether it occurs at home, at school, or in the streets.
Where the streets are golden: Yemeni families traffic their boys to Saudi Arabia hoping for a better life.
At dusk, on the border between Yemen and Saudi Arabia, it is hard to know if more traffic passes through or around the gate. Certainly there are more jeeps turning on to the tracks leading through the scrub and stones of the desert than are passing the flimsy post manned by sweating soldiers.
UN conference in Cairo calls for an end to violence against children
CAIRO, 28 June 2005 – Delegates from 22 countries are taking part in a United Nations-sponsored conference in Cairo which calls for an end to violence against children in the Middle East and northern Africa. Discussions are focussed on how children are affected by violence in four settings: the home & family, schools, the workplace, and in the streets.
Child camel jockeys return home
LAHORE, Pakistan, 28 June 2005 - Fifteen-year-old Ghulam Sarwar spent almost half of his young life racing camels far away from his home in Pakistan. His parents sent him to the United Arab Emirates seven years ago to work as a camel jockey. In exchange, the family received a recruitment fee, and Ghulam was paid a few dollars a month.
Georgia: Juveniles are subjected to unfair imprisonment
TBILISI, GEORGIA, 10 June 2005 - Aleko Kamushadze stole an accordion and a drum from the basement of his school and now he's serving an 18-month sentence, much of it locked up with dangerous criminals including rapists and murderers.
Darfur: A family's struggle in Finna
JEBEL MARRA, Sudan, 7 June 2005 – “I was happy in my previous life. We had a farm, cattle, water and a safe life,” says Hawa, a middle-aged mother of five. Her home region, Jebel Marra, was once a paradise: abundant with fruit, popular with tourists and considered an important farming region for Darfur - and all of Sudan. Now the region, including Finna, an SLA (Sudanese Liberation Army)-controlled area in Jebel Marra, is described as dry and harsh and abundant with despair. UNICEF is the only humanitarian aid agency supporting Finna and its struggling residents, including Hawa.
ECHO and UNICEF: Tackling sexual violence in Burundi
MUYINGA, Burundi, 6 June 2005 – Head bowed, a 13-year-old girl tearfully recounts one of the most horrifying moments of her short life. Her mother listens in shock.
Young people speak out at regional consultation on violence
ISLAMABAD, 30 May 2005 – The UN Study on Violence Against Children is gathering inputs from young people, experts and officials, through consultations in every region around the globe. Two of the youth leaders who spoke at the most recent consultation – held 19-21 May in Islamabad, Pakistan – were Noor Jahan from Afghanistan and Ugen from Bhutan.
India: Project helps child labourers return to school
DHARMAPURI DISTRICT, Tamil Nadu, India, 26 May 2005 – Their young hands should have held pencils and crayons. Instead, they touched deadly chemicals in matchbox factories, handled worms in silk farms, or were scalded by hot tea while serving customers in tea stalls. Instead of going to school, these child labourers lost precious months or years of their childhood earning paltry wages to support their families.
Violence against children: ‘Xchange’ strives to end the scourge
BELIZE CITY, 16 May 2005 – Marleni Cuellar, 20, has dedicated herself to building a new youth movement called ‘Xchange’ which is launching in Belize and the rest of the Caribbean Region over the next few months. Xchange is all about building harmony and commitment against violence one person at a time, through musical events, dramas and other participatory methods.
Violence in Colombia displaces indigenous families
NEW YORK, 29 April 2005 - Intense fighting in the Cauca region of Colombia between FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) guerrillas and the Colombian Army region since 14 April has displaced more than 6,000 people, including more than 3,000 children.
Arab students chat about violence in schools
RAMALLAH, West Bank, oPt, 14 April 2005 - On a hot sunny afternoon, two Palestinian school children were seated in a tiny square room, behind two computers. They were getting ready to participate in the internet chat on violence in schools that took place on 11 April.
Ecuador begins to eradicate child labour
QUITO, Ecuador, 13 April 2005 - Following a negative Human Rights Watch report in 2002, Ecuador’s government has made good on a promise to address the growing problem of child labour in the country. In 2004, the Labour Ministry appointed teams of inspectors to monitor workplaces in 22 provinces around the country and has continued to strengthen its national surveillance system.
Parliamentarians meeting: Child protection a major issue
NEW YORK, 6 April 2005 – On day three of her visit to the Philippines for the annual International Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly, UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy urged lawmakers to focus on the factors that make children such easy targets for exploitation. Later in the day she received an award on behalf of UNICEF, presented by the Philippine Government.
Nearly 3,000 former child soldiers returned to civilian life
NEW YORK, 4 April 2005 – UNICEF has confirmed that over 2,900 former child soldiers in Ituri District, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, have been returned to civilian life since September 2004.
UNICEF urges lawmakers to use power to protect children
MANILA, 4 April 2005 – This week UNICEF is challenging hundreds of lawmakers from around the world to use their power to alleviate the suffering of millions of children who are subjected to violence and exploitation.
Former child soldiers reclaim their lost childhood
KPANDROMA, Ituri District, DR Congo, 30 March 2005 - At a UNICEF-supported demobilization and community reintegration centre in Kpandroma, Congolese children, some as young as eight, are putting on a play to re-enact the ordeal they endured as pawns of armed groups.
Study examines the situation of children with disabilities in Uzbekistan
TASHKENT, Uzbekistan, 29 March 2005 – Uzbekistan is taking a closer look at the situation of its children living with disabilities.
Children bear the brunt of Uganda’s 19-year conflict
KAMPALA, Uganda, 23 March 2005 - As the conflict in northern Uganda carries onto its 19th year, violence, displacement and poverty continue to exacerbate an already strained humanitarian situation.
Colombian government reviews commitment to children
BOGOTÁ, Colombia, 9 March 2005 - Top-ranking government officials attended a meeting today at the Tequendama Hotel in Bogotá to review more than 1000 proposed national and regional development plans and determine whether they adquately address children’s issues. The meeting was organized by the office of the Attorney General of Colombia with support from UNICEF.
Violence against children is a ‘blemish on the face of nations’
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, 11 March 2005 - In a speech delivered here today to the Caribbean Regional Consultation on Violence against Children, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Rima Salah applauded having young people’s voices heard. “The impact of violence on the lives of children is a blemish on the face of nations in all parts of the world – rich and poor countries, in the South and the North,” she said.
Nigerian officials rescue more than 100 children from child traffickers
LAGOS, Nigeria, 9 March 2005 - Law enforcement officials in Nigeria are fighting back against child traffickers, as new laws and a more aggressive awareness campaign take effect.
Armed conflict: ‘The world must do more for children!’
NEW YORK, 7 March 2005 - The world needs to do more to transform words into actions in order to protect children during armed conflicts, says the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Olara Otunnu.
UNICEF helps the victims of Beslan
BESLAN, Russian Federation, 3 March 2005 – When the Beslan school siege took place in September 2004, UNICEF recognized that former hostages and members of the affected community would need long-term psychological and emotional support.
UNICEF urges world to stop sexual violence against girls and women
NEW YORK, 28 February 2005 - Ten years ago, at the World Conference on Women held in Beijing, 189 countries agreed to improve women's equality. World leaders are set to gather again - this time in New York - to review progress made to date. UNICEF plans on taking this opportunity to steer the world’s attention towards the systematic rape and sexual violence against women and girls during armed conflict.
Enough silence! Stop violence against children!
NEW YORK, 23 February 2005 – Young people from around the world spoke out to help stop violence against children, during UNICEF’s Voices of Youth e-discussion event on the topic ‘Enough silence! Make your voices heard about violence against children.’
UNICEF says Security Council can perform a vital protective role for children in armed conflict
NEW YORK, 23 February 2005 - UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Rima Salah today appealed to the United Nations Security Council to do more to protect the rights of children affected by armed conflict.
Desmond Tutu helps launch campaign for Universal Birth Registration
NEW YORK, 22 February 2005 - Every year the births of some 48 million children go unrecorded. As a result, they are often denied access to health care and education, and they have far less protection against illegal adoption, forced recruitment or trafficking. These unregistered children are often unable to prove their identity, and their rights may go unrealized.
Senegalese rap artist Didier Awadi helps promote birth registration
DAKAR, Senegal, 22 February 2005 - There’s an unusual sight in Ms. Ndiaye’s elementary school class in Dakar, Senegal, today. Didier Awadi, a Senegalese rapper, points to the words carefully written on the blackboard, and encourages the students to shout them out.
Child soldiers trapped in vicious cycle of war
KAMPALA, Uganda, 16 February 2005 - Many former child soldiers in Uganda who have been freed from rebel militia groups have been drawn again into armed conflict – this time with the national army.
Zero tolerance for female genital mutilation
NEW YORK, 4 February 2005 - Two million girls are at risk of female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C) every year. The International Day of Zero Tolerance of Female Genital Mutilation on 6 February 2005 promotes the rights of women and children with the aim of eliminating all forms of FGM/C.
A personal plea for a mine-free world
NAIROBI, 6 December 2004 - At the Summit for a Mine Free World, held here on 29 Nov - 4 Dec, UNICEF joined forces with hundreds of international organizations, global leaders and committed individuals, to call for a world free of landmines.
Clearing deadly mines from southern Sudan
YIROL, Sudan, New York, New York, 1 December 2004 – Sudan is one of the ten most landmine-affected countries in the world. A truce in the long-running civil conflict (which is separate from and far predates the crisis in Darfur) has now allowed the United Nations to begin work in southern Sudan, to clear landmines and unexploded ordnance.
Children account for half of landmine casualties in Cambodia
NEW YORK, 24 November 2004 – UNICEF will join hundreds of international organizations, global leaders and individuals to demand a ban on landmines at the Nairobi Summit on a Mine-Free World from November 29 to December 3.
Arab parliamentarians discuss child rights
NEW YORK, 22 November 2004 – Members of parliament from 13 Arab countries have convened in Amman, Jordan, to discuss how they can help strengthen the realization of children’s rights. The meeting is being held in conjunction with the 15th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and is being hosted by the Arab Parliamentary Union.
UN independent expert pleased with response to child violence study
NEW YORK, 3 November, 2004 - Response to a global study on Violence against Children has so far been excellent, according to the study’s leader, Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro.
UNICEF urges the world to join Mine Ban Treaty
NEW YORK, 1 November 2004 - Thousands of children all over the world are being killed, injured and orphaned by landmines. In many countries children account for one in five landmine victims.
Queen Noor of Jordan meets Colombian children maimed by mines
BOGOTA/NEW YORK, 28 October 2004 – Four weeks ahead of the World Summit on Landmines in Nairobi, Kenya, Queen Noor of Jordan visited Colombia to meet with children maimed by landmines. Her visit helped mark the destruction of the government’s landmine stockpiles. Some 23,000 mines were destroyed in a simultaneous explosion at the capital Bogota and the northern city of Barranquilla.
Ricky Martin speaks out against sex tourism
New York, 20 October 2004 - Pop singer Ricky Martin appealed to the United Nations Wednesday for international help to fight sex tourism. “It is an organized crime,” he told a press conference at the UN headquarters in New York. “We must mobilize on this subject. There are many people who are in denial, and even the victims don’t know that they are victims.”
Girls and women terrorized by widespread rape in Darfur
DARFUR/NEW YORK, 20 October 2004 - UNICEF has received further reports that armed militias are continuing to rape girls and women in Darfur as a tactic to terrorize and humiliate individuals and communities.
Expert says children need to feel safe to cope with traumatic experiences
NEW YORK, 24 September 2004 – It is a shocking and dismaying fact that children have been, and are being, directly targeted in situations of armed conflict – witness the terrible recent school siege in Beslan, Russia. In other crisis situations, from Darfur to Haiti, children endure or see traumatic situations.
Web dialogue: ‘Creating a Place for Us’
NEW YORK, 9 August 2004 – Beginning today, youth from around the globe will come together for a web dialogue on Voices of Youth, UNICEF’s interactive website for young people, to talk about their experiences with out-of-home living and care, the importance of trying to help children remain with their families when possible, and what they would like to see change.
Jordan’s police are child-friendly
AMMAN, 6 August 2004 – The sign on the brand-new police office here in Jordan’s capital reads ‘Public Security Directorate’ – not a phrase which most people would normally associate with child rights. And yet the ‘Family Protection Department’ (FPD) of the police deals with exactly that.
Bellamy condemns sexual violence against Darfur’s women and children
NEW YORK, 26 July 2004 – UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy recently visited Darfur. While there, she heard many testimonies from women and children describing widespread rape and sexual violence.
Child trafficking symposium in Japan calls for immediate action
TOKYO, 21 May 2004 - Japan's National Committee for UNICEF sponsored an international symposium on child trafficking today. The aim of the symposium was to raise awareness of ongoing European intiatives to combat trafficking.
North American travel industry joins UNICEF in the fight against child exploitation
Her Majesty, Queen Sylvia of Sweden, reaffirmed her commitment to the fight to protect children from sexual predators today during a conference on how to protect children from sexual exploitation organized by UNICEF.
Parliamentarians receive handbook on child protection
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Jessica Lange was at the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s 110th International Assembly in Mexico City today, 20 April 2004, to launch the Handbook for Parliamentarians on Child Protection, a joint UNICEF/IPU report. Ms. Lange called on parliamentarians to live up to their responsibilities as legislators and become champions for children.
All children deserve protection from exploitation and abuse
The rights of millions of children around the world are violated every day. It is estimated that over 2 million children are exploited through prostitution and pornography and 1.2 million children are trafficked every year – many of these children are eventually forced into the sex industry.