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Statement attributable to UNICEF Executive Director, Anthony Lake, on the situation in Cote d'Ivoire

NEW YORK, 4 April 2011 - "UNICEF continues to be gravely concerned by the ongoing violence in Cote d'Ivoire and its alarming impact on children. We are especially troubled by reports that children are among the victims of a mass killing there.

And children continue to be recruited by armed forces on all sides of the conflict – a grave violation of their rights which jeopardizes not only their future but also the chances for achieving sustainable peace in Cote d’Ivoire.

UNICEF is working to assist those in need with humanitarian supplies, but our programmes have been seriously compromised by the fighting. In the West, UNICEF has been able to reach out to the displaced population with basic supplies, but we urgently need to reach those at risk, especially in Abidjan, where an estimated one million displaced people are in dire need.

We fear outbreaks of disease if we and other agencies cannot reach the thousands of internally displaced families. UNICEF joins its voice to the many others who have called upon all sides in this conflict to cease the violence against civilians and to permit humanitarian aid workers to reach those in greatest need.”



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