Universal Children’s Day

New York, 20 November 2006– On the Universal Day of the Child, Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, wishes to highlight the terrible toll that war takes on the lives of children living in situations of armed conflict.

Because violence continues to be perpetrated at an alarming rate, thousands of children’s lives are adversely affected. Their resulting mental and physical traumas represent a grave threat to durable peace and sustainable development, as cultures of violence are perpetuated.

“Children deserve protection. Violations of children’s rights must stop, impunity must end”, urges Radhika Coomaraswamy.

The UN Special Representative reiterates that “for the sake of the children and the future generations, all parties in conflict must take their responsibilities seriously and ensure that the appropriate action is taken to restore a protective environment for children.”

Radhika Coomaraswamy also wishes to pay a special tribute to all the efforts made by the international community, Member States, local civil society and the UN system in trying to tackle the issues related to children in armed conflict.

Today, in more than 30 countries in the world, children continue to be directly or indirectly affected by armed conflicts. They are killed or maimed, made orphans, abducted, victims of sexual violence, deprived of education, denied access to humanitarian assistance, and uprooted from their homes.

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For further information, please contact:

Laurence Gerard, Liaison Officer, Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children Affected by Armed Conflict, United Nations, New York. Telephone: 1 212 963 0984 – gerardl@un.org – www.un.org/children/conflict