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Press centre

Joint press release

UNICEF and UNESCO condemn bomb attack near school in Kirkuk

106 school children and four teachers injured in attack

BAGHDAD, 13 March 2013 – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) condemn the attack that took place on March 11 near Wlad secondary school in the town of Dibis in Kirkuk governorate, 290 kilometres north of Baghdad, Iraq.

“We condemn Monday’s attack in the strongest terms” said Mrs. Louise Haxthausen, UNESCO’s Representative in Iraq. “Attacks that affect schools are unacceptable; all schools are, and must remain, zones of peace.”

The blast waves and shrapnel caused by the bomb injured 106 students – 70 boys and 36 girls – all of whom were in class at the time of the explosion. Of the injured children: six are in critical condition with two remaining in a coma; 10 have fractures and significant bleeding; and 90 have minor lacerations and bruises. Four teachers were also severely injured in the blast.

“The injuring of innocent children who are studying for a better future is appalling” said Dr. Marzio Babille, UNICEF’s Representative to Iraq. “Attacks that affect Iraqi children’s education show disregard for fundamental principles of humanity. No cause justifies them and they have gone on for far too long. They must stop.”

UNICEF and UNESCO wish a healthy recovery to all children and teachers affected by the attack and call on the Government of Iraq to take the necessary measures to ensure that education is provided in safe and secure environments to all children across Iraq.

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UNICEF works in more than 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org

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UNESCO is the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this the Organization is requested to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”

For further information contact:

Simon Ingram, UNICEF Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa, Tel: +962 79 590 4740, singram@unicef.org

Jaya Murthy, UNICEF Iraq, Tel: +964 780 1964 524, jmurthy@unicef.org

Jad Merhi, UNESCO Iraq, Tel: +962 (6) 59 02 340 ext.155, j.merhi@unesco.org




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