UN chief presents funds from benefit football match for children in conflict

Last month Ambassadors Heraldo Muñoz of Chile and Christian Wenaweser of Liechtenstein led out two teams of UN diplomats, who kitted up to raise money and awareness for an organization founded on the basis of Article 31 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which stipulates that every child has the right to play.Play31 provides children in countries torn apart by armed conflict with the basic necessity for play – a football – in the belief that the game has the unifying power to create peaceful societies. The Secretary-General commended Jakob Lund, who founded Play31, at an event at UN Headquarters in New York where he handed over the funds raised, noting that there have been many examples where “soccer and sports in general have created a very important atmosphere, politically – conducive to the creation of reconciliation.”He also commented that it was appropriate that he played defence, and sometimes goalie, in the match since, as Secretary-General, one of his main jobs is “to defend defenceless people and speak for the voiceless people.“I sincerely hope the diplomatic community at the United Nations will continue to work together with other leaders for the well-being and benefit of the many many children who need our support.” 13 May 2009Weeks after the final whistle had blown on a United Nations fundraising football match, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today scored the winning goal by passing a cheque for $11,000 to children who have suffered the ravages of war in Sierra Leone.

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