Statement on hunger strike

10 May 2012

11 May 2012
Jerusalem

The Commissioner General of UNRWA, Filippo Grandi, is following with increasing concern the ongoing hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody, in particular, those held as administrative detainees. He echoes the calls of the Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, and Robert Serry, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, to reach a solution without delay.

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$ 68.2 million.

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