Mandela urges world leaders to help

Mandela urges world leaders to help children

 

JOHANNESBURG, May 6 (Reuters) - Former South African President Nelson Mandela and his wife Graca Machel said on Saturday world leaders were accountable for the wellbeing of children.

 

"Graca and I pledge our energies to building a global partnership...of leaders from every sector and every calling who share a dogged determination to change the way the world sees our children and the way the world treats our children," Mandela said in a prepared speech.

 

Mandela and his wife, joined by United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Carol Bellamy, called for action to help improve the lives of children affected by wars, disease and poverty.

 

Machel, the former wife of Mozambican President Samora Machel who was killed in a plane crash, said children were increasingly becoming targets in wars and not just conscripts and incidental casualties.

 

She said it was believed at least two million children have been killed in a decade of conflicts and some six million more had been seriously injured.

 

"We intend to press the point that leaders everywhere at every level are accountable, and, as such, must exercise their responsibility to use their position and their power to lead," Machel said.

 

Education was a vital tool in helping children to heal and overcome their trauma from war, said Machel, who authored the U.N. report on the impact of conflict on children.

 

 

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