Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Children Must Be Protected Amid Gaza Conflict

Children Must Be Protected Amid Ongoing Gaza Conflict, Stresses UNICEF Chief

New York, Jan 14 2009 11:10AM

The head of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today called on the parties to the ongoing conflict in Gaza to ensure the protection of children, some 300 of whom have been killed and more than 1,500 wounded since the crisis began on 27 December, as Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in the region to seek an end to the hostilities.

“These are not just cold figures,” UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman said in a statement issued in Johannesburg, where the agency is set to launch its flagship 2009 State of the World’s Children report tomorrow. “Each day more children are being hurt, their small bodies wounded, their young lives shattered,” she stated, adding that the current situation is “tragic” and “unacceptable.”

The overall toll of the Israeli offensive, which the Government says it launched to end Hamas rocket attacks against Israel, stands at more than 900 Palestinians killed, 42 per cent of them women and children, and some 4,000 wounded, nearly 50 per cent women and children, as of yesterday.

Mr. Ban, during his Middle East visit which he began in today in Cairo, is appealing for urgent compliance with UN Security Council resolution 1860, which calls for an immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire and for the unimpeded provision and distribution throughout Gaza of humanitarian assistance. Ms. Veneman stressed that humanitarian access to all, especially to the most vulnerable, must be unhampered. In addition, schools and medical facilities must be protected and be considered zones of peace, in all circumstances. “Children form the majority of the population of Gaza. They are bearing the brunt of a conflict which is not theirs,” she stated. “As fighting reaches the heart of heavily populated urban areas, the impact of lethal weapons will carry an even heavier toll on children. Absolute priority must be given to their protection.” Her agency, together with its partners, is working to assist those caught up in the conflict, in spite of the difficult conditions. She noted that beyond the immediate needs of the children who have lost their homes, have no access to water, electricity and medicine, and beyond the horrific physical scars and injuries are the deeper psychological wounds. “For these children, psychological and social healing will be long and difficult,” she said. “Only when there is a cessation of hostilities can children begin the long journey back to a semblance of what is the most fundamental right of a child, the right to a life free from physical and mental violence,” she said.


Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
World Headlines


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.