Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, 4 February 2003 - On behalf of UNICEF, I appeal to all parties involved in the conflict in Cote d'Ivoire to respect fully the humanitarian norms and principles. Most of all, I appeal for an immediate stop to violence against children throughout Côte d'Ivoire.
All persons living in Côte d'Ivoire must be able to live in peace and enjoy their human rights in the same way. The new forms of violence and the prevailing climate of impunity have created a highly volatile and insecure situation.
It is essential that all children have access to education, health and, most of all, to protection, in all circumstances.
I call on you to guarantee access to basic services throughout Côte d'Ivoire. This implies recognition of your responsibility to ensure that the whole population has full and unhindered access to these services and to guarantee security for all humanitarian staff.
To respond to the needs of children affected by the crisis, UNICEF has already mobilised its teams in the sub-region and is providing humanitarian assistance to the affected population wherever access is possible. It is absolutely indispensable for us to have access to children throughout Cote d'Ivoire to be able to ensure their well-being.
I am launching this appeal in particular for peace and reconciliation in Côte d'Ivoire. All of us in the United Nations system are ready to support you in the peace and reconciliation process.
For further information or to arrange an interview with Ms. Rima Salah, please contact Margherita Amodeo, firstname.lastname@example.org, UNICEF WCARO Communication, Tel: 00225 05 68 09 73