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Inhumane, illegal and insane: A Medieval Siege on Gaza in 2010

IHL Project public lecture

Date: Tuesday 1 June 2010
Time: 6.30-8pm
Venue:  New Theatre, East Building
Speaker: John Ging
Chair: Professor Christine Chinkin

Through a policy of siege lasting nearly three years, the 1.5 million people of Gaza have been isolated, impoverished and largely ignored by the outside world. John Ging, Director of UNRWA Operations, discusses the counter-productivity of the siege on Gaza – a medieval measure which threatens to destroy the mentality, mindsets and outlook of hundreds of thousands of innocents in a process designed to unravel the fabric of civilised society. Left to respond to ever-growing needs, UNRWA in Gaza is not only concerned with the harsh realities of daily life, but also with future prospects for peace and stability.

On 1 February 2006, John Ging was appointed Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza, having charge of UNRWA’s $450 million Humanitarian and Human Development programs. Through over 10,000 staff, UNRWA provides education, health care, social services and a large program of emergency humanitarian assistance to over one million Palestine refugees in Gaza.

Immediately prior to joining UNRWA, Mr. Ging worked in the Balkans, most recently as the Chief of Staff of the Institution Building Pillar within the United Nations Mission in Kosovo. Prior to that, he worked for eight years in Bosnia and Herzegovina where he served as the Chief of Staff for the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

From 1994 to 1996, Mr. Ging was seconded by the Irish Government as Regional Field Director with the Irish NGO GOAL, having charge of their Emergency Relief and Development Aid programs in five countries of the Great Lakes Region in Africa following the Rwandan genocide.

Between 1989 and 1994, he served three tours of duty as a United Nations Peacekeeper with UNIFIL, beginning his career in the Irish Defence Forces in 1983 as a Commissioned Officer.

A lawyer (Barrister-at-Law) by profession, his educational background spans a number of disciplines. He holds a primary and two post-graduate university degrees, having completed studies in Law, Sociology and Political Science.

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