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PROTECTION FROM VIOLENCE, EXPLOITATION AND ABUSE

Disasters, emergencies and trauma were no strangers to children in 2006. Armed conflict disrupted children’s tranquility from Afghanistan to Sri Lanka to Sudan and beyond. Natural disasters ripped apart children’s lives in Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Peru and the Philippines. Famine and floods crept across the Horn of Africa. And displaced persons languished in camps in such countries as Chad and Somalia. Young people toiled in the worst forms of labour, young women suffered the indignities of sexual harassment and discrimination, and girls and women endured the horrors of rape and sexual assault in nearly every corner of the globe. The UN Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children released in 2006 documents the atrocities children experience on a daily basis.

Through it all, when disaster strikes, UNICEF is on the ground to provide basic services and attempt to transform crises into opportunities.

Life-saving supplies were brought to families living in Chad after fleeing the slaughter in Darfur (Sudan). Safe water, soap, blankets, vaccinations and high-protein biscuits will stave off disease and death until the displaced can return to their homeland. Some 2.1 million people displaced within Darfur were reached with essential health-care services, and 1.2 million children received polio vaccinations and vitamin A supplements. While basic supplies and services continue to sustain life in the camps, the children of southern Sudan have reached a crossroads. With three quarters of an estimated 8 million people in the area unable to read or write, the UNICEF- sponsored ‘Go to School’ campaign in 2006 beckoned children into classrooms so they can ‘rise from the ashes’ after two decades of war.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where it is believed that between 8,000 and 11,000 children continue to be associated with armed forces and groups, UNICEF responded within 48 hours to violence that erupted in July in the eastern part of the country.

MANY ROADS, ONE DESTINATION

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