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UN agency lays backpacks for every child killed in conflict

September 9, 2019
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Thousands of school backpacks are laid out in an installation on the North Lawn of the United Nations Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. The installation, created by UNICEF, illustrates the scale of child deaths in conflict zones in 2018. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
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Thousands of school backpacks are laid out in an installation on the North Lawn of the United Nations Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. The installation, created by UNICEF, illustrates the scale of child deaths in conflict zones in 2018. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. children’s agency has laid 3,758 school backpacks in rows reminiscent of a graveyard on the lawn of U.N. headquarters in New York — one for each child who died in a conflict zone last year.

UNICEF said it wants the installation, which ends Thursday, to dramatize the grave scale of child deaths in conflict and to spur world leaders meeting at the U.N. in late September to provide greater protection for children.

“UNICEF backpacks have always been a symbol of hope and childhood possibility,” UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said, but these children’s loss “will forever be felt in their homes, classrooms and communities around the world.”

In countries including Afghanistan, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen, UNICEF said “children pay the heaviest price of war.”

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