SOMALIA: Parties Must Respect Humanitarian Principles For Protection Of Children And Resume Peace Talks

New York, 27 December 2006 – The Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, expressed her deep concern regarding the alarming escalation of the conflict in Somaila and the dire consequence for children and their families.

"I am very disturbed by recent reports and information on grave violations being committed against children, including the recruitment of child soldiers by parties to the conflict in Somalia," she declared. The Secretary-General's Special Representative for Somalia also reported yesterday to the Security Council that thousand of civilians are fleeing the central and the southern region of country in search of protection in Kenya.

Ms. Coomaraswamy appeals to all parties involved in the conflict to respect international humanitarian law for the protection of children and urges the parties to resume as soon as possible negotiations for a lasting peace in Somalia.

# # #

For further information, please contact:

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