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Call for civilian protection in the Middle East

MEDIA RELEASE – fOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

21 July 2006

Caritas calls for civilian protection in the Middle East

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand has joined with its international partners in calling for all parties in the current Middle East conflict to respect their obligations under international law.

Under International Humanitarian Law, states and authorities must protect civilians caught up in conflict, allow humanitarian agencies free access to provide assistance to those affected, and ensure attacks are not aimed at civilian targets, but are directed solely at military targets.

“Yet with the civilian death toll increasing to over 270, there is clearly a lack of regard given to international obligations relating to the targeting of civilians,” says Mike Smith, Director of Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand.

“Israeli and Lebanese governments, and Hizbullah, must fulfil their obligations under International Humanitarian Law by actively distinguishing between the civilian population and combatants in order to protect civilian lives and property,” says Mike Smith.

Caritas believes that a just peace is possible in the Middle East, and urges the international community and political leaders to uphold international law and help the people of Israel, of Palestine and of Lebanon to step back from the brink of full-scale war.

Caritas is accepting donations to assist the victims of the current Middle East crisis. Donations can be made via:

- Phone: 0800 22 10 22

- Post: Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, PO Box 12-193, Thorndon

- Wellington 6144, NEW ZEALAND.

- Online: http://www.caritas.org.nz/donations.php


ENDS

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