4 October 2012
In the morning of 28 September 2012, an UNRWA teacher in Syria, aged 35 years, was killed when he was caught in an exchange of fire at a checkpoint. This tragic death occurred near the town of Seyyida Zeinab in Rural Damascus. The staff member is survived by his widow and two children aged four and seven years.
This is the fourth conflict-related death of an UNRWA staff member in Syria since the conflict began, as casualties among Palestine refugees continue to rise. UNRWA reiterates its concern about the threats posed by the Syria conflict to the safety and well-being of Palestine refugees, Agency staff, and all other civilians in the country.
UNRWA has informed the Syrian authorities of the death of its staff member and calls on them to afford protection to refugees and other civilians from the effects of armed conflict.
UNRWA deplores the tragic and avoidable loss of life, and calls on all sides to refrain from conducting the conflict in civilian areas and to comply with their obligations under international law.
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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. 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. In 2012, the initial budgeted GF cash deficit was USD 75 million.
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