Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Statement by Dan Rohrmann, UNICEF Special Representative in occupied Palestinian territory

Above a wounded Palestinian boy is carried into Shifa Hospital after an Israeli airstrike at the Foreign Ministry building of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority government in Gaza City, early Thursday, July 13, 2006. A bomb dropped by an Israeli warplane destroyed the building early Thursday and caused widespread damage in a surrounding neighborhood where 13 people were wounded. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

JERUSALEM, 1 August 2006 – As the international media is focused on the humanitarian disaster unfolding in Lebanon, sadly enough the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is on the verge of being forgotten. For the 1.44 million Palestinians living in Gaza, out of which 838,000 are children, the humanitarian situation is a daily reality.

Having just returned from Gaza, it is clear that children are living in an environment of extraordinary violence, fear and anxiety. Over the last month, some 35 Palestinian children were killed in Gaza, almost a quarter of whom were less than 10 years old. This figure brings the total number of Palestinian children killed this year due to the conflict in West Bank and Gaza to 65 children. These figures are the second highest since the beginning of the current crisis in September 2000. This year one Israeli child was killed, bringing the total to 66 children. Since the beginning of the Intifada, the total number of children killed is 912, out of which 119 are Israeli children.

Given the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, UNICEF is stepping up its support in health, education, water and sanitation, psychosocial counseling, and activities for adolescents and younger children.

UNICEF reminds all parties that all children have rights, including those to health, water, education and protection. These rights must be safeguarded irrespective of the environment they happen to live in. Protection of civilians including children, as per the 4th Geneva Convention, is an obligation under international humanitarian law.

Source: UNICEF

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