UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon condemns attack on UNRWA world record venue

28 July 2011

28 July 2011

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said that, at ten minutes past midnight last night, ten men attacked and vandalised its Summer Games site in north-west Gaza. The attackers damaged a large billboard, burnt a UN flag and torched part of the stage. None of the UN security personnel at the venue were harmed.

Regardless of the attack, the Agency said that later today, children participating in the Gaza Summer Games will attempt a world record for the largest number of children flying kites.

The Relief and Works Agency condemned this attack, which is an attack on the children of Gaza as much as on the United Nations. It called on the authorities in Gaza to investigate and bring those responsible to account. It also said it would repair and rebuild the damaged infrastructure and go ahead with the event as planned today.

The Secretary-General shares the Agency’s views on the attack and he wishes the children the best as they seek to break the kite-flying record today.

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 more than US$ 106  million.

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