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Source: United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
2 June 2010

UNESCO Director-General shocked and concerned over deadly Israeli military interception

Paris, 2 June - Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, today expressed her deep concern at the tragic event that resulted in the loss of life and injury of civilians on the ships carrying supplies to Gaza on 31 May. According to press associations, the ships had more than 20 media workers and journalists, alongside other personalities from various countries on board.

The Director-General joined her voice to that of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in expressing shock at the deadly military interception on ships loaded with relief supplies headed for Gaza.

In meetings with Ambassador Nimrod Barkan of Israel, as well as with Ambassador Elias Sanbar of the Palestine Observer Mission to UNESCO and Ambassador Abdulsalam El-Qallali, Permanent Delegate of Libya to UNESCO and Chairperson of the Arab Group, the Director-General underscored the need for a full investigation into the event so as to determine exactly what had happened. Highlighting the need to ensure that journalists can report accurately and without hindrance, the Director-General expressed her concern that a number of journalists, who had been on the ships reporting an unfolding news event, had been detained. The Director-General finally expressed her hope that this incident would not escalate violence and hamper the prospects for peace in the region.

UNESCO is part of the UN humanitarian assistance efforts in Gaza, notably in the fields of education and the media.
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