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Statement attributable to Marianne Clark-Hattingh, UNICEF Representative in Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, 15 September 2017 - UNICEF is saddened by the tragic death of over 20 children and teachers in a fire at a religious school in Kuala Lumpur, Pusat Tahfiz Darul Ittifaqiyah. Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with the parents and families of those who lost their lives. UNICEF urges members of the media to exercise ethical reporting when presenting information on this incident. The media should refrain from publishing and sharing videos and photos which may infringe on the privacy and dignity of the victims and their families and their proliferation on social media.

Sadly, these deaths could have been avoided. This incident is a stark reminder of the importance to ensure the safety and protection of children in all learning environments. UNICEF calls for the establishment and enforcement of safety procedures and safe guards in all schools across Malaysia to ensure that such an unfortunate incident does not happen again. In addition, a full investigation needs to be conducted as soon as possible to establish the cause of this tragedy.

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