Statement by UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness

17 January 2011

17 January 2011

Barbara ShenstoneThe Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza, John Ging, and Barbara Shenstone, Director of UNRWA Operations in the West Bank, are to leave the Agency. John Ging is to take up a senior position in the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in New York and Ms Shenstone is to return to her native Canada. Mr Ging has served UNRWA for nearly five years, Ms Shenstone for nearly four.


John GingMaking the announcement to UNRWA staff, Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi said: “Barbara and John have made exceptional contributions to UNRWA’s work under the most difficult circumstances: their commitment to ensuring the quality of UNRWA services has been extraordinary; their advocacy in support of rights has been outstanding – be it amidst heavy bombardment in Gaza during armed conflict or in responding to the abysmal rights abuses in the occupied West Bank. I salute the courage, strength and determination of their innovative leadership. I – and all of us – will miss them both as colleagues and for their extraordinary contributions to UNRWA and the refugees we serve.”

-- ENDS --

For more information please contact:

Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Orange: +972 (0) 54 240 2659
Jawwal: +972 (0) 588 942 8034
Office: +972 (0) 2 589 0267

Background Information

UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions, and financial support has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, deepening poverty and conflict. As a result, the UNRWA General Fund, which supports core essential services and most staffing costs, operates with a large deficit. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large deficits, 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 solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

For more information, please contact: