Israel, Gaza conflict: UNESCO chief deplores latest attacks on media

Thursday, November 22, 2012
[FILE PHOTO: Al Jazeera English/ CC BY-SA 2.0] 
Geneva: The head of United Nations agency tasked with defending press freedom, Irina Bokova, is alarmed by the escalation of violence in Israel and Gaza.

In a news release, Bokova condemned the killing of three Palestinian journalists—Mahmoud Al-Komi, Hossam Salameh Mohammed and Abu Eisha— in air strikes on 20 November.

“I am deeply concerned about the reported targeting of media facilities and personnel that have left three Palestinian journalists dead: Mahmoud Al-Komi, Hossam Salameh Mohammed and Abu Eisha. The civilian status of journalists and their right to carry out their professional duties should be respected,” the UNESCO chief said.

She also voiced alarm over reports that media were being targeted in the air strikes and rocket fire between southern Israel and Gaza, and that schools were being hit.

Bokova said, “I am equally alarmed by strikes on schools in both Gaza and southern Israel. Schools should offer a safe environment for children. Attacks against them is a denial of the right to education and should be firmly condemned,”

“I wish to join my voice to the UN Secretary-General, whose paramount concern is for the safety and well-being of all civilians,” she concluded.

Meanwhile, Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR) has informed that at least 57 Palestinian civilians, including 18 children, are confirmed as having been killed, according to OHCHR monitors who say the death toll had doubled in the past 48 hours. Ten more people were killed overnight but it was unclear how many were civilians.
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