Middle East Crisis – Call For Protection Of Children

OSRSG/PR060720 20 July 2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

THE UN SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR CHILDREN AND ARMED CONFLICT CALLS FOR THE PROTECTION OF CHILDREN IN THE MIDDLE EAST CRISIS

United Nations Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy expressed her deep concern regarding the deteriorating situation affecting children and their families in Lebanon, Israel and in the occupied Palestinian territories.

"I am very disturbed by the number of causalities involving children and by the stories of families who have had to flee from their homes due to aerial bombardment and rocket explosions. Hundreds of thousands of people are reportedly internally displaced. The humanitarian situation is alarming. Children are bearing the brunt of this conflict and experiencing physical and psychological trauma".

Alarmed by the deterioration of the humanitarian situation, Ms. Coomaraswamy urges the parties involved in the conflict to agree to a cessation of hostilities and to an immediate opening of a humanitarian corridor for assistance to civilians in Lebanon.

"Killing and maiming, the denial of humanitarian access for children as well as attacks on schools and hospitals are considered grave violations of children's rights by the Security Council in its resolution 1612 (2005)", recalls Ms. Coomaraswamy. "Those crimes are also condemned by the International Law including the Rome Statute, the Geneva Convention as well as the Convention of the Rights of the Child. One day individuals may be held accountable for these violations against innocent children, she added".

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For further information, please contact:

Laurence Gerard, Communications Officer – Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children Affected by Armed Conflict, United Nations New York –

Telephone: + 1212 963 0984 – gerardl@un.org