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DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF UNESCO

The Director-General of UNESCO reiterates UN Secretary-General’s appeal for a cessation of all violence in Gaza and southern Israel and calls for the protection of educational and cultural institutions

Paris, January 5

The Director-General of UNESCO reiterates UN Secretary-General’s appeal for a cessation of all violence in Gaza and southern Israel and calls for the protection of educational and cultural institutions
  • © UNESCO/M. Ravassard

Mr Matsuura declared today he fully associated himself with the statement issued on 31 December 2008 to the Security Council by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon: “I condemn unequivocally and in the strongest possible terms the ongoing rocket and mortar attacks by Hamas and other Palestinian militants. But I also condemn the excessive use of force by Israel. All parties must fully uphold international humanitarian law. It is the civilian populations that are bearing the brunt of this escalation, and there must be swift and decisive action by the international community to bring to an end their suffering”, stated Mr Ban Ki-moon on this occasion.

Mr Matsuura also endorsed his call made on 3 January 2009 "for an immediate end to the ground operation", asking that "Israel do all possible to ensure the protection of civilians and that humanitarian assistance is able to reach those in need".

Mr Matsuura also expressed his strong concern over recent reports concerning the damage to educational institutions as well as cultural sites and monuments in the Gaza Strip. “We must do our utmost to protect the education system from such violence. I urge all parties concerned to remain vigilant about making schools and universities safe, and to protecting the lives of school children, students and educational personnel. We must also ensure the protection of the rich diversity of this cultural heritage at risk. In situations of conflict, all opportunities, no matter how small, should be seized to enhance the prospects for peace, dialogue and development”, said the Director-General.

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokesperson
  • 05-01-2009
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