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UN Authority Figures

U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) Executive Board, Vice-President: Myanmar

DANG NGO/ZUMA PRESS/FILE "This boy is part of the Karen National Union, a rebel group that reportedly accepts child volunteers...." The Christian Science Monitor, June 22, 2005

Mission of the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF): "UNICEF is mandated by the UN General Assembly to advocate for the protection of children's rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential. UNICEF is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and strives to establish children's rights as enduring ethical principles and international standards of behaviour towards children. UNICEF mobilizes political will and material resources to help countries, particularly developing countries, ensure a "first call for children" and to build their capacity to form appropriate policies and deliver services for children and their families. UNICEF is committed to ensuring special protection for the most disadvantaged children - victims of war, disasters, extreme poverty, all forms of violence and exploitation and those with disabilities. UNICEF responds in emergencies to protect the rights of children. In everything it does, the most disadvantaged children and the countries in greatest need have priority." (U.N. Children's Fund web-site, "UNICEF's Mission Statement")

Term of office: 2007

Myanmar's Record on Children:
"Children were at high risk, as deteriorating economic conditions forced destitute parents to take them out of school to work in factories and teashops or to beg. Some were placed in orphanages. With few or no skills, increasing numbers of children worked in the informal economy or in the street, where they were exposed to drugs, petty crime, risk of arrest, sexual abuse and exploitation, and HIV/AIDS...There was no adequate child protection or juvenile justice system...Estimated mortality rates for children under five years of age ranged from 66 (Ministry of Health, 2003) to 109 (UN Development Program, 2004) deaths per 1,000 live births. ... In 2005 the head of the World Food Program estimated that 33 percent of children were chronically malnourished...Child prostitution and trafficking in girls for the purpose of prostitution--especially Shan girls who were sent or lured to Thailand--persisted as a major problem....In Rangoon and Mandalay, diplomatic representatives noted widespread employment of female prostitutes who appeared to be in their early teens and for whom there was reportedly a high demand...In a tacit admission that there remained underage soldiers in the armed forces, Thein Sein stated that soldiers with stunted growth were not sent to forward areas but were instead given light work duties at military bases, and that illiterate youth were sent to army schools to be educated...The army continued to use forced recruitment of child soldiers...Although there are laws specifically prohibiting child prostitution and child pornography, they were not enforced effectively..." (US State Department's Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2006, Burma)