New York, US - The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director, Anthony Lake, has urged Zimbabweans to protect children as the country heads towards a constitutional referendum and elections.
In a statement issued on Saturday in New York at the end of a two-day visit to Zimbabwe, Mr. Lake wished Zimbabweans a peaceful election.
He, however, said: 'It was everybody’s duty to ensure that children and women suffered no violence and disruption to their lives during the referendum on 16 March and general elections later in the year'.
“At times of great uncertainty, such as during an election, it is important that homes, communities and schools continue to be havens of safety for children,” he said.
The UNICEF chief also stressed the need to ensure that children enjoyed uninterrupted access to basic social services, noting that, 'children are not political and should be sheltered in all countries from political turbulence.”
The statement said that during the visit, Mr. Lake met with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Nicholas Goche, and welcomed their assurances on the protection of children.
He also visited St. Joseph’s rural health clinic and St. Vincent Primary School which have received medicines and textbooks respectively through a donor-supported funding mechanism managed by UNICEF.