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UNICEF salutes work of former UN expert on children in war

UNICEF salutes work of former UN expert on children in war

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) today thanked the former UN expert on the challenges facing children during wars "for being an outspoken advocate for millions of children caught in conflict around the world."

It said it had welcomed the appointment of Olara Otunnu as Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for children in armed conflict (CAAC) in 1997, following the groundbreaking study of the problem by former Mozambican First Lady Graça Machel, and it had worked closely with him in highlighting the ways in which children in conflict zones were affected.

Mr. Otunnu left at the conclusion of his contract over the weekend.

UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Rima Salah said the agency greatly appreciated Mr. Otunnu's work "bearing witness to the atrocities children face in conflict, for telling and re-telling their stories for so many to hear and for his persistent calls for accountability."

She lauded Mr. Otunnu for insisting that egregious violations of the rights of children in armed conflict could not be overlooked or forgotten, and that impunity must end for all war crimes and abuses committed against children.

Ms. Salah also congratulated former UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, Karin Sham Poo of Norway, on her appointment as the interim Special Representative until a successor to Mr. Otunnu is chosen.