UN Authority Figures

UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) Executive Board: Ethiopia

In the Northern Amhara region of Ethiopia, two girls, ages 11 and 8, prepare for their marriage celebration. Photo: Etinesh and Torokan sit in the bridal tent while celebrations for their marriages take place.
Source: Catalyst, December 30, 2015

Mission of the UN 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 website, "UNICEF's Mission Statement")

Term of office: 2016-2018

Ethiopia's Record on Children:
"Other human rights problems included... violence and societal discrimination against women and abuse of children; female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C)... and child labor, including forced child labor... girls were married as early as age seven. Child marriage was most prevalent in the Amhara Region, where approximately 45 percent of girls marry before age 18, and the median first marriage age was 15.1 years... Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C):FGM/C is illegal, but the government did not actively enforce this prohibition or punish those who practiced it... 74 percent of women and girls had undergone FGM/C... Girls as young as age 11 reportedly were recruited to work in brothels. Customers often sought these girls because they believed them to be free of sexually transmitted diseases. Young girls were trafficked from rural to urban areas. They also were exploited as prostitutes in hotels, bars, resort towns, and rural truck stops. Reports indicated family members forced some young girls into prostitution... The most prevalent harmful traditional practices other than FGM/C included uvula cutting, tonsil scraping, milk tooth extraction, early marriage, and marriage by abduction. Marriage by abduction...continued in some regions despite the government's attempts to combat the practice. Forced sexual relationships accompanied most marriages by abduction, and women often experienced physical abuse during the abduction. Abductions led to conflicts among families, communities, and ethnic groups. In cases of marriage by abduction, the perpetrator did not face punishment if the victim agreed to marry the perpetrator. Infanticide or Infanticide of Children with Disabilities: Ritual and superstition-based infanticide continued in remote tribal areas... Displaced Children: According to a 2010 report by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, approximately 150,000 children lived on the streets..." (US State Department's Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2015, Ethiopia)