UN: 7 March 2008 – Following yesterday’s shooting in Jerusalem, which killed eight students, and the recent Israeli incursion in Gaza, which left 28 children dead and educational facilities damaged, United Nations officials today appealed for protection of schools and their young wards.
“Schools must be kept out of the conflict space and all parties should respect and preserve them as zones of peace,” Radhika Coomaraswamy, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict said in New York.
In Geneva, the spokesperson for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) expressed hope that Israeli authorities would remove the obstacles to bringing into Gaza teaching kits and construction materials, which are needed to repair schools damaged in recent attacks.
Because schools remain closed, UNICEF has distributed enough School-in-a-Box kits for 800 students, spokesperson Véronique Taveau said.
She added that UNICEF has dispatched 20 educators who specialize in psychological trauma to Gaza, since demand for consultations had risen 60 per cent in the last few days there.
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Worsening conflict in Gaza leaves children at particular risk, UNICEF warns