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UNICEF Representative in Egypt Philippe Duamelle said in a statement on Tuesday that the international organization is concerned about reports that children are deliberately being used in factional protests in Cairo and other cities.
“UNICEF is deeply concerned over reports that children have been killed or injured during the violent confrontation in Egypt over recent days,” Duamelle said.
The statement added that disturbing images of children taken during street protests indicate that on some occasions children have been deliberately used and put at risk as potential witnesses to or victims of violence. These pictures, sometimes showing boys and girls as young as six dressed in martyrdom shrouds, have been widely distributed through social media and online news portals.
Duamelle said: “We call on all Egyptians and political groups not to exploit children for political ends and to protect them from any potential harm.”
On July 31, UNICEF will kick off a global initiative calling for an end to all forms of violence against children, led by a powerful appeal featuring UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Liam Neeson. The End Violence Against Children campaign hopes to highlight the terror, violence and abuse children in conflict zones face.