Letter from Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi on the passing of Nelson Mandela

07 December 2013
Letter addressed to President Jacob Zuma of South Africa from Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi on the passing of Nelson Mandela
Letter addressed to President Jacob Zuma of South Africa from Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi on the passing of Nelson Mandela

East Jerusalem

Mr President,

On behalf of all staff at UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, I would like to express sincere condolences on the passing of Nelson Mandela. Our thoughts and prayers are with his bereaved family and friends, with your government and with the people of South Africa.

Not only are we mourning a man of immense courage and vision, who devoted his life with dignity to serving humanity, freedom and justice - we will also miss a champion of South Africa's strong bonds of friendship with the Palestinian people, and a supporter of Palestine refugees.

Let us hope that his message of hope, and of just peace, will continue to inspire present and future generations in the world, and in particular those who seek long-awaited solutions to conflicts, including in the Middle East.

Sincerely yours, 

Filippo Grandi

Background Information

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 56 million.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: 
+972 (0)2 589 0267
Sami Mshasha
UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: 
+972 (0)2 589 0724

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