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17 December 2010 - Religious leaders, Government Officials, and the Public in Darfur Give Momentum to UNICEF Peace Initiative

© UNICEF SUDAN/2010/Olushola Ismail

El Fasher - As part of its Peace Initiative, and in collaboration with the Government of the State of Northern Darfur, an event was held in the city of Elfasher on 17th December for prayer and action for peace for the children and the people of Darfur. The objective of the event, which brought together hundreds of religious leaders, all government leaders, the media, civil society and the public, was to underlie commitment for advancing the process of peace and commemorating the 21 Anniversary of the adoption of the Convention for the Rights of the Child.

All gathered at the grounds of the Grand Mosque of Elfasher, led by the Governor of Northern Darfur Mr. Osman Kibir, senior Government Ministers and officials participated in the event . The Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Darfur, Mr. Ibrahim Gambari, UNICEF Representative Mr. Nils Kastberg, Head of UNICEF Field Office, Mr. Olushola Ismail, UNICEF Consultant Ambassador Ahmed Gubartalla and some UN and NGO colleagues were also present. The Governor, the Minister for Social Affairs, a representative of the religious leaders and UNICEF Representative addressed the gathering. All emphasized commitment to national and international instruments to protect the rights of children and underlined the crucial role of peace in having these rights protected. Subsequent to the Grand Mosque event, the State Governor invited all participants to his residence for another meeting and dinner to celebrate the occasion.
The event was well covered by the media and it gave an opportunity to religious leaders and other society leaders to come together and to reiterate their commitment to peace and the welfare of children and their cooperation with UNICEF in carrying out its mandate and consolidating the process of its peace initiative in Darfur and other parts of the country. It should be noted that the event gave the religious leaders, who are influential in their communities a forum for a collective voice for peace and protection of children and they emphasized in their statements the duty of all to protect children and work tirelessly for peace. UNICEF Filed Office and Country Office will follow up on this process to ensure that it covers wider sectors of the society in Darfur.



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