United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
UNESCO Director-General calls for immediate release of hostages held in school siege

The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, has joined the Secretary General of the United Nations and the Executive Director of UNICEF in demanding the “immediate and unconditional release of all the hostages” being held at a secondary school in Beslan (Russian Federation).

“I am appalled that a school and its pupils are being used for political ends. Schools are where children learn to live together. The safety of schools must never be threatened. I condemn these actions in the strongest possible terms,” said Mr Matsuura, from UNESCO Headquarters.

During a visit to the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania in June 2003, Mr Matsuura stressed the urgent need to foster dialogue among cultures with a view to enhancing a spirit of mutual respect and understanding.

Referring to other deadly terrorist attacks against civilians in Moscow and on two Russian airliners the Director-General said, “terrorism in all its forms is criminal, it is one of the most serious threat to international peace and security.”

Source Press Release No. 2004-78
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Publication Date 02 Sep 2004
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