UNRWA Welcomes Retraction of Damaging Articles

02 April 2009

2 April 2009

East Jerusalem

The Toronto Globe and Mail and the Australian Newspaper have published retractions and corrections to articles in which they accused UNRWA officials of publishing inaccurate information about Israeli attacks around the UN school in Jabalia during the recent war in Gaza. In its clarification, the Toronto Globe and Mail admitted that "John Ging, the Director of operations of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in Gaza was mistakenly quoted in a January 29 news story". The paper made clear that "in fact, Mr Ging was referring to a different attack, at Asma, Gaza, on the same day as the jabalia attack", in which three people were killed inside the UNRWA school compound. The articles claimed that UNRWA had not only published incorrect data, but that its officials had spread allegations against Israel based on this information. These misleading articles were quoted in subsequent media reports. UNRWA welcomes the retractions, but regrets the damaging impression left by the original articles. The Agency stands by the information it made public during the fighting in Gaza in December and January.

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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
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$ 68.2 million.

For more information, please contact:

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