School communities in Gaza must be protected

The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) fully support last weekend’s statement issued by Education International, to which the union is affiliated. This statement brings the humanitarian crisis being faced by school communities in Gaza into sharp focus for education trade unionists worldwide.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) reports that at least 88 educational institutions have been directly targeted. This includes the destruction of 18 UNRWA schools and 70 Palestinian Authority schools. Such actions deprive more than 600,000 children and their teachers access to safe learning and teaching.

Children and families in Gaza have practically run out of food, water, electricity, medicine, and safe access to hospitals following recent hostilities. An immediate ceasefire and the establishment of a humanitarian corridor are vital to ensure safe access to children in need.

This union supports the UN and international human rights organisations in their vital work to bring urgent supplies to the people of Gaza and secure the release of hostages.

The INTO joins Education International and the Irish government in calling for restraint. The international community must collectively condemn breaches of international humanitarian law, including the targeting and killing of civilians.

Thousands have tragically lost their lives, including educators and students. We send our sympathy to all those affected and offer our deepest condolences.

We mourn the tragic loss of life and urge intensified diplomatic intervention to end the cycle of violence and secure a just, lasting peace. Concentrated efforts must protect children’s rights to a future free from war, violence, and oppression.