Statement by UNRWA on Holocaust Education

04 September 2009

4 September 2009

The quotes attributed by the Simon Wiesenthal Center to UNRWA‘s Commissioner General, Karen AbuZayd and UNRWA‘s Gaza Director, John Ging are false. We condemn Holocaust denial in all its forms and we reject the politicization of the Holocaust. UNRWA will remain focused on positive curriculum development in teaching children the human rights values enshrined in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

UNRWA is committed to human rights education. UNRWA rejects any denial of the Holocaust as an historical event.

UNRWA implements a human rights, conflict resolution and tolerance programme in its schools in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza. In Gaza, UNRWA is strengthening this programme by developing a dedicated human rights curriculum anchored in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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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