6 Jan 2009
Three members of the same Palestinian family were killed last night whilst taking shelter in an UNRWA school designated as a temporary refuge from the violence. Well before the current fighting, the UN had given to the Israeli authorities the GPS co-ordinates of all its installations in Gaza, including the UNRWA school which was struck. In addition yesterday, an entire family of five children and their parents were killed when the Israeli army shelled their home.
These deaths highlight the tragic reality of the situation in Gaza that for civilians, neither homes nor UN shelters are safe. Nearly one and a half million civilians are dangerously exposed to the fighting around them. There are no safe places to flee. We call on all parties to uphold international humanitarian law and protect civilians.
More than 500 people have been killed and more than 2400 injured in just ten days. As one of the most densely populated places in the world, it is clear that more civilians will be killed; more homes, buildings and civilian infrastructure will be destroyed, if the conflict continues.
These tragic incidents need to be investigated, and if international humanitarian law has been contravened, those responsible must held accountable.
I reiterate the Secretary General’s call for an immediate cessation to this violence. Human beings have the right to life, liberty, and security no matter who they are and where they live.