UNICEF statement on killing of school girls in Rural Homs

UNICEF is appalled at the senseless deaths of four young girls who were killed by a mortar explosion as they left their school in Homs governorate earlier this week (29 June).

The four deceased girls, aged 13-14 years old, had been attending a UNICEF-supported school club at Al Sabaat school in Al Rastan, a town about 20km to the north of Homs city. The area is the scene of ongoing fighting.

At least four other children were injured in the attack.

The loss of children’s lives due to relentless, indiscriminate attacks on civilian-populated areas is totally unacceptable.

Schools should be safe spaces for children, where they can get much needed respite from the constant fear of attack. At the same time, children should be able to go to and from school safely.

UNICEF renews its repeated calls for all parties to the conflict in Syria to immediately cease all attacks against civilians and to fully respect the special protection afforded to children under international humanitarian and human rights law.

UNICEF has reached close to 328,000 children in Syria through school clubs which provide remedial education classes and recreational activities, along with educational supplies, and teaching and learning materials.

Jennifer Ehidiamen is a tech-savvy journalist based in Lagos. She reports on global health and development issues in Africa for Voice of America (VOA News). Jennifer also serves as a photojournalist and communications consultant. A 2013 Innovative Young Journalist Award recipient, 2013 New Media fellow for International Reporting Project, 2010 LEAP Africa award recipient and a 2009 Atlas Service Corps Fellow, Jennifer recently founded the Rural Reports project [http://www.ruralreporters.com], a news portal dedicated to grassroots citizen-reporting. She serves as an Advisory Council member for Washington DC-based One World Youth Project (OWYP). She has published three books: "In Days to Come" (2004), "Preserve my Saltiness" (2011) and "Half A Loaf And A Bakery" (2013). Jennifer graduated from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism with a degree in Mass Communication. Follow Jennifer on Twitter @Disgeneration