Home WORLD NEWS Gaza Most Dangerous Place To Be A Kid, UNICEF Tells UN Security Council

Gaza Most Dangerous Place To Be A Kid, UNICEF Tells UN Security Council

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Gaza Most Dangerous Place To Be A Kid, UNICEF Tells UN Security Council

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The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has said that the Gaza Strip is “the most dangerous place to be as a child”. UNICEF’s Executive Director Catherine Russell on Wednesday told the UN Security Council that more than 5,300 Palestinian children have been killed since the October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas. The militant group has so far killed 1,200 Israelis and taken many hostages, most of whom are civilians, according to a Reuters report. 

Israel focused its retaliation against Hamas in Gaza, a territory of 2.3 million people.

Russell said that the “true cost” of the latest war between Palestine and Israel will “be measured in children”. The UNICEF executive director said that the cost will grow “exponentially” if the fight is not put to an end immediately.

“The true cost of this latest war in Palestine and Israel will be measured in children’s lives – those lost to the violence and those forever changed by it. Without an end to the fighting and full humanitarian access, the cost will continue to grow exponentially,” Russell, who last week visited Gaza, said at a council briefing on women and children.

Gaza has been subjected to airstrikes by Israel, has faced blockades, and witnessed incursions by soldiers and tanks.

According to Reuters, Russell said, “The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child”, adding that in Gaza the effects of violence that has been perpetrated on children “have been catastrophic, indiscriminate and disproportionate”.

On Wednesday, Israel agreed to a ceasefire with Hamas for four days to let in humanitarian aid and free at least 50 hostages held by militants in exchange for at least 150 Palestinians jailed in Israel.

Meanwhile, UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous told the Security Council that “Women in Gaza have told us that they pray for peace but that if peace does not come, they pray for a quick death, in their sleep, with their children in their arms. It should shame us all that any mother, anywhere, has such a prayer”.

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Israel’s representative at the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, accused Hamas of exploiting children in Gaza over an extended period. He reiterated long-standing criticisms of the UN, alleging bias against Israel. Erdan asserted Israel’s commitment to pursuing its objectives vigorously once the ceasefire concludes. He emphasised the goal of eradicating Hamas’ terror capabilities and ensuring their inability to govern Gaza, thereby safeguarding both Israeli civilians and the well-being of Gaza’s women and children.

“Make no mistake as soon as the pause ends, we will continue striving towards our goals with full force,” Erdan said, as per Reuters. “We will not stop until we eliminate all of Hamas’ terror capabilities and ensure that they can no longer rule Gaza and threaten both Israeli civilians and the women and children of Gaza.”

Meanwhile, Hamas has refuted allegations of operating from locations like hospitals in Gaza and using civilians as human shields.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres acknowledged the ceasefire as a positive step but emphasised the need for further action to alleviate suffering.

The head of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) informed the Security Council that approximately 5,500 pregnant women are expected to give birth in Gaza in the upcoming month. Natalia Kanem, the Executive Director of UNFPA, expressed concerns about the challenging conditions under which around 180 women deliver daily, with an uncertain future for their newborns.

Additionally, she highlighted the plight of approximately 7,000 women who gave birth in the past 47 days, lacking access to essential care, water, sanitation, and nutrition.

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