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It was the suffering of children in war that prompted the founding of UNICEF 50 years ago. It is the continuing suffering of children that reminds us how much more we need to do, and how enormous is the task still before UNICEF. The State of the World's Children report this year examines what it calls "the terrible symmetry" framed by these 50 years.

Please join me in supporting the urgent effort to bring peace to children —peace in every sense of the word; building an ethic against violence directed at children, against drafting children as combatants, against planting anti-personnel land-mines and against holding children as hostages. And, as affirmed by the Declaration of the 1990 World Summit for Children and enshrined in the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, may nations abide by the principle of "first call for children" always—with their survival, protection and development given high priority—in times of adversity as well as in times of beneficence, in times of war as well as in times of peace.

UNICEF has worked and has encouraged others during this half-century to make this principle a reality. This report documents that great work. I recommend these pages to all readers. They reflect our common hopes and they summon us to even greater common action on behalf of the children of the world.

Boutros Boutros-Ghali

Secretary-General, United Nations

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