18 January 2013

Mali: Statement

New York — With military operations ongoing in Mali, UNICEF is calling on commanders of all armed forces, groups and militias in Mali to take every possible measure to protect children from the impact of hostilities - to stop the recruitment and use of children in their ranks and keep children out of harm's way.

"Commanders are obligated to immediately release any child under the age of 18 who is currently associated with their group to minimize children's exposure to the dangers of combat," said Pernille Ironside, a specialist with Child Protection in Emergencies at UNICEF in New York.

"The Malian Armed Forces and allies must do their utmost to avoid civilian casualties, including women and children," she added.

UNICEF is gravely concerned about children being used in fighting. There is a high risk of separation from their families, which can make children much more vulnerable to many forms of abuse, including recruitment, sexual abuse, child trafficking and other forms of violence against children.

There is also the danger that in the event of the armed groups retreating or fleeing, children will be left behind and vulnerable to revenge attacks.

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2013 United Nations Children's Fund. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.