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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
18 November 2008




Spokesperson's Noon Briefing

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York


DAILY PRESS BRIEFING BY THE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Farhan Haq, Associate Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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** Gaza

High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay today called for an immediate end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza.  She added that, because of the blockade, 1.5 million Palestinian men, women and children have been forcibly deprived of their most basic human rights.  Pillay said, “This is in direct contravention of international human rights and humanitarian law.  It must end now.”

According to the Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO), no fuel, humanitarian supplies or commercial commodities were allowed into Gaza today.

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is drawing attention to what it calls “unprecedented levels of hardship”.  For example, it says, mothers are being turned away from UNRWA food centres without powdered milk for their babies.  The agency also notes that it is unable to get in supplies even for blind children.

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**Questions and Answers

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Question:  There have been reports on the news this morning that these checkpoints into Gaza from Israel were opened and there were trucks of supplies going through.  Is there a timing problem at least from…?

Associate Spokesperson:  No, the latest information is that the checkpoints as of right now are closed.  This is the latest information that we got from our people on the ground at UNSCO and UNRWA.  And, I don’t know whether you were here for the start of this briefing, but there’s a statement from the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, reflecting her views about this.  Yes?

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For information media • not an official record

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