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Source:
7 March 2008



UNOG
The United Nations
Office at Geneva



REGULAR PRESS BRIEFING BY THE INFORMATION SERVICE
7 March 2008


Elena Ponomareva-Piquier, Chief of the Press and External Relations Section of the United Nations Office at Geneva, chaired the briefing, which was also addressed by Spokespersons for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the United Nations Refugee Agency, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the International Organization for Migration and the World Trade Organization.

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Geneva activities

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Ms. Ponomareva-Piquier recalled that the Human Rights Council had yesterday adopted a resolution on “human rights violations emanating from Israeli military attacks and incursions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly the recent ones in the occupied Gaza Strip”. In this resolution, adopted by 33 votes in favour, one against and 13 absentions, the Council called for the immediate cessation of all Israeli military attacks throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territories and of firing of crude rockets that had resulted in the loss of two civilian lives and some injuries in southern Israel. The Council also called for urgent international action to put an immediate end to the grave violations committed by the occupying Power, Israel, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Ms. Ponomareva-Piquier reminded journalists that the discussion of agenda item 7, devoted to the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories, initially scheduled to take place on 17 and 18 March, had been moved up to yesterday at the request of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the African Group in light of recent events in the region. The calendar of work of the session had been revised as a result and, to put it briefly, everything had been moved up by one day. The new calendar was available in the Press Room.

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Rupert Colville of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said that Ms. Arbour had in her opening remarks to the Human Rights Council this morning expressed her profound sadness at yesterday’s killings in Jerusalem and in central Baghdad. There was no justification for the murder of innocent civilians, and she had extended her condolences to the families of the victims.

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Other

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On Gaza, Ms. Taveau said that the humanitarian situation continued to deteriorate. A total of 28 children and five women had been killed in the latest military operations undertaken by Israel between 27 February and 5 March, with a further 60 children and 10 women injured. While medical supplies were missing, the clinics that treated children for psychological problems had had a 60% increase in consultations in the last few days. In addition, schools had been closed for many days. UNICEF had distributed emergency supplies, including ten School-in-a-Box kits for 800 students. Twenty educators specialized in psychological trauma had also been dispatched to the areas affected by the attacks. Equipment and materials intended for children continued to be blocked by Israeli authorities from entering the area, including teaching and school kits needed for tens of thousands of children. Construction materials needed to repair school was also blocked. UNICEF hoped that these materials, which were officially being blocked for security reasons, could be released as soon as possible.

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