“It is an act of horror and rank cowardice to attack defenseless children while they learn,” Ban said at the start of a UN Security Council meeting.
“The hearts of the world go out to the parents and families who have lost loved ones.”
Taliban insurgents stormed the army-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar, going from classroom to classroom shooting children, some as young as 12, in one of Pakistan’s bloodiest ever attacks.
Speaking in a solemn tone, Ban began his address to a council meeting on peacekeeping with the statement condemning what he termed the “blood-curdling attack” in Pakistan.
“I condemn this heinous attack in the strongest possible terms,” he said. “No cause can justify such brutality. No grievance can excuse such horror.
“Schools must be safe and secure learning spaces. Getting an education is every child’s right. Going to school should not be an act of bravery.”
Ban expressed UN support for the Pakistani government’s efforts to fight terrorism and extremism, and urged Islamabad to make every effort to track down those responsible for the carnage.
The UN children’s agency UNICEF said the attack should provide a wakeup call for the world to support Pakistani efforts to improve education.