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Source: United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
8 September 2004


UNICEF statement on shooting of 9-year-old girl in a UN-flagged school in Gaza


Statement attributable to Dan Rohrmann, Special Representative, UNICEF oPt

In response to the shooting of a nine-year-old girl in an UNRWA classroom, "I feel saddened by the news that a nine-year-old Palestinian girl was critically shot while sitting at her desk in a classroom on Monday. Having commended just a few days ago all that is being done in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to get kids back to school and provide a safe learning environment, it feels frustrating to receive tragic news like this. The schools that children learn in and playgrounds they play in must be seen as zones of peace.

According to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, children have the right to a safe learning environment and have a right to be protected from violence."

Background:

UNRWA reports that a child sitting in the classroom of a UN-flagged school in Gaza was struck in the head Sept. 7 by gunfire from an Israeli position. This is the third such incident in 18 months.The Israeli fire towards Khan Yunis was in retaliation for a Palestinian Kassam rocket which had been fired towards the settlement of Neve Dekalim.Following the incident, UNRWA's Commissioner-General Peter Hansen said the agency would protest this incident to Israeli authorities in the strongest possible terms.He added that this kind of live firing into refugee camps is so indiscriminate that it makes classrooms dangerous for 10-year old children, and is totally unacceptable.


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