Killing of Gaza’s children decried

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Photo Credit: Jason Taylor

KILLING OF PALESTINIAN CHILDREN INDEFENSIBLE:

Indian civil society responds to attacks on children in Gaza

 August 11, 2014 

The indiscriminate bombing and ground offensive against the Palestinian people, by the Israeli Defence Forces in the Gaza strip, for over a month now has taken the lives of hundreds of children, women and old people in particular. Reports from various sources indicate that about 400 children have been killed in the attacks so far. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) say that 133 schools were shelled or suffered collateral damages in the attacks. Several of these schools were serving as shelters for the Palestinian people, mostly children and women.

The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said of the attack on one of these schools: “Nothing is more shameful than attacking sleeping children”. The attack was also condemned by Gordon Brown the UN Special Envoy for Global Education. There are reports from UN sources and other international human rights agencies that many schools were attacked repeatedly; that too despite prior communication to the Israeli army that they were being used as shelters for the internally displaced Palestinian community, including a large number of children and women. In one instance cited, the Israeli army was informed 17 times, up until a few hours before the attack but the school was not spared.

The functioning of health, drinking water and sanitation and electricity facilities are also severely affected. Hospitals are running on their last reserves of medical and fuel supplies, and people urgently need food and clean drinking water. The situation has crossed the conceivable limits of an emergency, as 70 per cent of people of Gaza need “steady assistance”.d

In this situation, civil society organisations in India demand immediate political action at the international level to extend the present temporary cease fire and bring about a permanent halt to the attacks on Palestinians in Gaza. The present political initiatives need to be continued and extended into peace building, while the much affected essential services need to be immediately restored and the reconstruction of Gaza taken up under the initiative of the United Nations. Further we call on the Indian Government to work with other countries to pursue recourse to all possible international mechanisms such as sanctions and criminal proceedings at the International Criminal Court (ICC) to hold Israel accountable for its carnage in Gaza.

 

The following persons and organisations have endorsed this statement:

Ambarish Rai, Right to Education Forum

Ajay Kumar VT, RIGHTS

Abhilash Babu

Alex George, Child Rights Focus, ActionAid

Annie Namala, Centre for Social Equity and Inclusion

Benny Kuruvilla, South Solidarity Initiative

Bharati Chakra

Dinesh Abrol, Institute for Studies in Industrial Development

Harsh Mander, Centre for Equity Studies

Jai Somanathan, Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samithi

KK Krishna Kumar, Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samithi

Kshithij Urs

Mridula Bajaj, Mobile Creches

Paul Divakar, National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights

Pradeepta Sundaray

Pritarani Jha

Ramakant Rai, National Coalition for Education

Ravi SK

Razia Ismail, Indian Alliance for Child Rights

Sanjeev Rai, Save the Children

Sudeshna Sengupta, Child Rights Advocate

Urvashi Sarkar, Journalist & Researcher

Vandana Prasad, Public Health Resource Network

Zakia Soman, Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan

 

 

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