May 28, 2014 2:00 pm

UNICEF lauds courage of kidnapped Nigerian girls as Harper summit opens

UNICEF chief Anthony Lake says he wants to discuss child protection issues with Canadian officials at Stephen Harper's conference on maternal, newborn and child health, which opens today.

AFP PHOTO/BELGA PHOTO ERIC LALMAND

TORONTO – The head of the UN Children’s Fund says improving the health of newborns and their mothers must include protecting them from violence, such as the terror caused by Boko Haram in Nigeria.

UNICEF chief Anthony Lake says he wants to discuss child protection issues with Canadian officials at Stephen Harper’s conference on maternal, newborn and child health, which opens today.

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READ MORE: Nigeria says it knows girls’ whereabouts, won’t use force to get them

Lake’s remarks come as the Harper government announces a $98-million contribution to the UN World Food Program to improve nutrition.

Lake lauds Harper’s leadership on the issue of child and maternal health, but says much more needs to be done.

He says gains are needed in protecting young children and their mothers from violence as well as improving their nutrition and health.

Lake also lauded the courage of the teenage girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in northern Nigeria.

© The Canadian Press, 2014

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