From Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa
AMMAN/ SYDNEY 2 November 2017
- “In recent days we have received shocking reports and photos of more attacks on children and education facilities in the besieged area of Eastern Ghouta in Rural Damascus.
“Earlier today, a UNICEF partner reported that four children were killed in an attack on the “Jisren” school. A separate attack on the “Misraba” school reportedly killed three children. On 29 October, an attack on a kindergarten in the same area, injured three children and two teachers.
“UNICEF is working with its partners to verify these reports in all its details. What we know already is enough to state that the war on children continues in Syria, unabated.
“What we know already is enough to have those who care for children to question our humanity amid the horrific scenes of dead children, clinging to their school bags. They were so eager, so determined to learn despite the shelling, the bullets and violence that have been their daily lot for most, if not all of their short lives.
“The heinous crimes of killing children must come to an end once and for all. Even wars have laws and the laws are very clear: schools are a place of sanctuary, they must be protected at all times. Attacks on schools are a grave violation of children’s rights - those who commit these violations must be held accountable.
“The children of Syria are children, just like yours and mine. All they want is to learn, play and have a better future.
“What has the world come to when even the simple act of going to school becomes a matter of life or death? Where is the world heading when mothers and fathers, just like you and I, don’t know if their children will come back alive from their day at school or as a small lifeless body.
“We have said it repeatedly and we say it once again. For the sake of our common humanity, the war on children in Syria must stop. Our calls so far have been falling on deaf ears. Will parties to the conflict and those who have influence over them take action to protect children now?”
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