The Associated Press
February 10, 2009 - 1:00am,7340,L-3669379,00.html

Head of UNRWA operation in Gaza 'extremely frustrated' by Israel's refusal to allow paper into Strip, says new textbooks meant for children's human rights program

The top UN Official in Gaza criticized Israel on Monday for blocking the shipment of paper to print textbooks for a new human rights curriculum that will be taught to children in all grades in the Palestinian territory.

Israel also has refused to allow 12 truckloads of notebooks into Gaza as well as plastic sheeting which is

turned into plastic bags to distribute food that the UN provides to some 900,000 people, John Ging, head of Gaza operations for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency which helps Palestinian refugees, said in a videoconference with reporters at UN Headquarters.

He said 60% of the textbooks needed in Gaza have not been printed, so children don't have the material they need to study.

Ging said he was "extremely frustrated" at Israel's refusal to allow paper into Gaza, "Not least because we have a new human rights curriculum which everybody here is very excited to teach the children."

The human rights courses are modeled on those developed by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, with input from the human rights community in Gaza, he said. They will be taught by specialist human rights teachers in every school, and human rights organizations in Gaza will evaluate the teachers' performance.

"Hopefully when the kids leave our schools, they'll have the clearest understanding of rights, responsibilities and the effective mechanisms to uphold and achieve those rights," Ging said.

"We want these kids to come up with a civilized outlook, with the mindset that is orientated toward peace and tolerance, and we're being obstructed," he said. "Not being allowed to bring in paper to print the human rights textbooks means that there is an obstruction for the teaching of human rights to the children here in Gaza."


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