UNRWA statement on Syria

09 June 2011

9 June 2011

The Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Filippo Grandi, is deeply distressed that Palestine refugees in Syria have lost their lives and been injured in recent events, including in Yarmouk, which is home to a third of the Palestine refugee community in Syria. UNRWA extends condolences to the families of all victims and strongly appeals for calm and restraint on all sides.
UNRWA calls on all concerned to preserve the sanctity of human life as required by international law, to protect the safety and dignity of all, and to ensure that any further loss of civilian lives is avoided.
These and other recent, tragic events are a reminder that Palestine refugees remain vulnerable and exposed to risks throughout the region. As the Commissioner-General has reiterated many times recently, they also highlight the need for the international community to redouble its efforts to achieve for the refugees a just and lasting solution based on UN resolutions and international law.

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For more information please contact:

Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0267

Sami Mshasha
UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0724

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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