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Address to the Security Council Meeting on Children in Armed Conflict

New York, 5 May 2002 -

Mr. President, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen:

My name is Wilmot, from Liberia. I am 16 years old. At age five, I fled from Liberia with my mother to Sierra Leone. I was too young at the time to really understand what was happening. I heard the sounds of guns. I saw people running. I saw people shooting. I saw people being killed. I saw people dying. People as young as I was were dying. On two occasions, I saw a man being killed because of his tribe. Another man was slaughtered right in front of our family. I could not stand the sight and hid in my mother's arms.

I saw schools and building destroyed. I saw families like mine, in the thousands, leave everything behind and run. I was lateR told that a war was going on. That was eleven years ago when the war had just began.

Today as I speak, the children of Liberia are suffering again from war. We don't have good education because of war. We are malnourished because of war. There are many reports that children are being recruited. We are dying because of war.

Our hopes and dreams for the future are bleak. The cry of the children of Liberia is for peace. We, as children ourselves, are involved in trying to put an end to the war. I am working with an all-children television programme, Kiddies Corner, that discusses the plight of children along with issues affecting our well-being and development of our fullest potential. Another all children radio programme, C'Est la Vie, run by children themselves has been effective in sending out the message of peace across the country. These are things that children in Liberia have been doing to find a way for peace.

Other organisations like the children's assistance programme, CAP provides support for war affected children. Don Bosco provides homes for street children. Children against Violence has provided shelter and education for these kids. The YMCA provides recreational activities.

Bot none of this will mean anything if the war does not stop.

Mr, President, the children of Liberia appeal to this honourable Council of the United Nations to do everything possible to stop the fighting in Liberia. We are experiencing war again in Liberia and want it to end now. We are dying every day. Our human rights are being abused daily. These human rights abuses, including the recruitment of children, will continue unless the war is brought to an end. Please help stop the war for the sake of children. We know that it is your responsibility to promote world peace. Please don't forget Liberia now. Help save the lives of the children of Liberia.

I thank you for this opportunity to speak to you today.