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Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake on child recruitment in northern Mali

NEW YORK (May 2, 2012) — Yesterday Human Rights Watch issued a compelling report that details testimony about abductions and rapes of girls and women by armed groups in northern Mali and the recruitment and use of children by armed groups.

Such actions are grave violations of international humanitarian law and can constitute war crimes.

The report reinforces the need for more attention to be paid to the situation in Mali and the Sahel region. And there must be an immediate end to these outrageous acts.

About UNICEF

UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization in the world. Working in more than 150 countries, UNICEF provides children with health care, clean water, nutrition, education, emergency relief, and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States.

UNICEF is at the forefront of efforts to reduce child mortality worldwide. There has been substantial progress: the annual number of under-five deaths dropped from more than 12 million in 1990 to 7.6 million in 2010. But still, 21,000 children die each day from preventable causes. Our mission is to do whatever it takes to make that number zero by giving children the essentials for a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.

For additional information, please contact:

Kiní Schoop, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.922.2634, kschoop@unicefusa.org

Source: UNICEF

THE SAHEL REGION IN WEST AND CENTRAL AFRICA

Map of the Sahel region in Africa