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.

For media inquires
Hayat Abu-Saleh
Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO)
Public Information and Media Unit
Tel: 972-2-5687287
Mobile: 972-54-6631114
E-mail: abusaleh@un.org
www.unsco.org

Background Information

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA Programme Budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall,  projected for 2016 to stand at US$ 81 million. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

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

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