MIDDLE EAST: The Special Representative For Children And Armed Conflict Calls For All Parties To Protect Schools And Children

New York, 7 March 2008- The Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict voices her grave concern regarding the recent targeting of schools in the Middle East, where several children and teenagers have been killed and injured in the past weeks.

Yesterday’s shooting at a Jerusalem religious school resulted in the killing of 8 students, most of them 15 or 16 years of age, by an East Jerusalem gunman. It is one more shocking violation of children’s rights in the ongoing conflict there. Between 27 February and 3 March, 27 children were killed and 2 schools and 1 health facility were attacked in Gaza, as a result of incursions by the Israeli Defense Forces.

“Schools must be kept out of the conflict space – Ms. Coomaraswamy said – and all parties should respect and preserve them as zones of peace.”

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For further information, please contact:

Luca Solimeo, Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict, UN, New York. Phone: +1 917 367 3563 – E-mail: solimeo@un.org