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Liban : Louise Arbour préoccupée par la situation des civils pris dans les combats dans le camp de réfugiés palestinien de Nahr el-Bared - Centre d'actualités de l'ONU Français
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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
United Nations News Service (See also > DPI)
23 May 2007

UN human rights chief urges civilian protection at refugee camp in Lebanon

23 May 2007 The United Nations human rights chief added her voice today to mounting UN concern over the fate of civilians caught in the fighting between the Lebanese army and Fatah el-Islam gunmen at a Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon.

In a statement, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said she was distressed by reports that dozens of civilians had been killed or wounded since the violence erupted at Nahr el-Bared camp on Sunday.

“The shelling of an UNRWA convoy yesterday is unacceptable,” she added, referring to the attack against a group of vehicles from the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East that were attempting to deliver emergency supplies such as milk, bread and medicines to the besieged civilians in the camp.

No one was killed in the shelling of the convoy, but three vehicles were badly damaged and some of the humanitarian supplies were destroyed.

Yesterday Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UNRWA’s Director in Lebanon Richard Cook each voiced grave concern on the situation inside Nahr el-Bared for civilians and on the attack against the convoy.

Ms. Arbour stressed in her statement that all parties to the fighting in Nahr el-Bared have an obligation to exercise precaution and to protect civilians not taking a direct part in the hostilities.

“The protection from attack for humanitarian workers and medical personnel and their unrestricted access to civilians are also guaranteed under the principles of international humanitarian law,” the statement noted.

Established in 1949, Nahr el Bared is home to nearly 31,000 people, including about 8,000 who are classified by UNRWA as special hardship cases. Many residents have fled to the nearby Beddawi refugee camp or a stadium in the city of Tripoli, where UNRWA is coordinating relief efforts.

In her statement today Ms. Arbour also “condemned in the strongest terms” the recent bombings in the capital, Beirut, including one in the city’s Verdun district on Monday night.

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