UNRWA statement on Palestine refugees in Syria

22 July 2012

22 July 2012
Jerusalem

UNRWA views with increasingly grave concern the situation in Syria, particularly as regards the implications for the stability and protection of 500,000 Palestine refugees across the country. The Agency is also concerned about the safety of UNRWA staff, the security of its facilities, and about humanitarian access to affected refugees.

The current situation in the Damascus neighbourhood of Yarmouk and in rural Damascus, home to both Syrian and Palestinian communities, is especially worrying.

UNRWA calls on all parties to take steps to ensure the protection of Palestine refugees in the situation of armed conflict in Syria. To this end, the Agency requests all parties to the conflict to take measures, as required by international law, to preserve human life, to avoid forced displacement and to exercise the utmost restraint. All parties must respect the neutrality and integrity of UN installations and of areas where Palestine refugees and other civilians reside. UNRWA’s access and the supply of essential goods to affected communities must also be facilitated.

UNRWA has appealed to the Syrian authorities to safeguard the security of Palestine refugees wherever they reside in Syria. UNRWA will continue to monitor the situation as it evolves.

- Ends -

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, microfinance and emergency assistance. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0267
c.gunness@unrwa.org

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:

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