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Press release

UNICEF condemns Nepal school bloodshed

Calls on warring parties to preserve ‘zones of peace’ around children

BEIJING / NEW YORK/ GENEVA, 16 October 2003 - UNICEF said today that it is shocked by reports of a military engagement in a school in Nepal that left a number of children dead and wounded.

Speaking from Beijing, UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy said that although the numbers of dead are not known, the fact that they occurred in a school sounds a new and deeply troubling note in the growing conflict in Nepal.

“We have previously called for the protection of children in Nepal, and the agreement that children, their homes, and their play and recreational areas must be zones of peace. Children must be protected at all costs.”

She added that UNICEF was disturbed to witness the resumption of hostilities in Nepal after what had appeared to be very promising moves towards peace earlier this year. At that time UNICEF called for a code of conduct to be agreed between the parties that included;

  • No weapons in schools
  • No recruitment of children
  • No political activities in schools
  • No harassment of teachers or pupils
  • No disruption of school activities

“Now every one of these principles has been violated yet again, at the cost of the lives of children. Whatever the political arguments, whatever the cause or the counter-argument, the killing of children is just a matter for condemnation.”

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For further information, please contact:

Damien Personnaz, UNICEF Geneva:
+ 41–22–909–5716, dpersonnaz@unicef.org

Gordon Weiss, UNICEF New York:
+ 1–212–326-7426, gweiss@unicef.org




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