United Nations Joint Statement

31 May 2010

Joint Statement of

Robert Serry, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Filippo Grandi, Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency

31 May 2010

We are shocked by reports of killings and injuries of people on board boats carrying supplies for Gaza, apparently in international waters. We condemn the violence and call for it to stop. The situation is still ongoing and we are awaiting confirmation of what has happened. However, we are in contact with the Israeli authorities to express our deep concern and to seek a full explanation. We are also urging them in the strongest terms to ensure that no further steps are taken that could endanger civilian lives. We wish to make clear that such tragedies are entirely avoidable if Israel heeds the repeated calls of the international community to end its counterproductive and unacceptable blockade of Gaza.

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Hayat Abu-Saleh
Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO)
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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.

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