UN Secretary-General condemns attack on UN school in Gaza — UNICEF says at least 192 children have been killed in Gaza in 18 days

UN Secretary-General  Ban Ki-moon addressing UNRWA staff in Gaza via SKYPE from Cairo. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressing UNRWA staff in Gaza via SKYPE from Cairo. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

On July 24, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his shock when he heard about the attack on an UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) for Palestine Refugees in the Near East school in Northern Gaza where hundreds of people had taken refuge.

As the Secretary-General stated, “many have been killed – Including women and children, as well as UN staff.”

The UN Secretary-General said he was appalled at the news, and stated that although circumstances were unclear, he wanted to express his profound condolences to the families of the victims and those of so many hundreds of innocent civilians who have been killed in this conflict. In fact, he stated “when I briefed the Security Council from Ramallah just two days ago, I condemned Hamas rocket fire and called on Israel to exercise particular care to avoid any attack on United Nations premises where civilians have taken refuge. More than 100,000 Gazans – that’s 5 per cent of the total population – have sought refuge in UNRWA facilities.”

In addition, Maria Calvis, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, stated on July 25 that “at least 192 children have been killed in Gaza in 18 days. As the death toll and devastation mount with each passing hour, UNICEF echoes the Secretary-General’s call for an immediate end to the violence. “

As Maria Calivis stated, “yesterday’s attack on Beit Hanoun Elementary Co-ed A and D School – the third school hit this week – is proof that much more needs to be done to protect innocent children. Using or attacking school premises where children have taken refuge from the violence is unacceptable under any circumstances. UNICEF calls on parties to the conflict to respect the sanctity of children and schools.”

Ann Charles
Ann Charles is UN Bureau Chief of "Baltic Review" based in New York City. She covers diplomatic activities at United Nations Headquarters in New York and the world body's work in human rights, education, culture, the environment, and tourism, among other global concerns.