At least one UNRWA staff killed when Israeli Forces hit UNRWA centre used for food and lifesaving supplies

13 March 2024

AMMAN, 13 March 2024 - At least one UNRWA staff member was killed and another 22 were injured  when Israeli Forces hit a food distribution centre in the eastern part of Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip.

“Today’s attack on one of the very few remaining UNRWA distribution centres in the Gaza Strip comes as food supplies are running out, hunger is widespread and, in some areas, turning into famine. Every day, we share the coordinates of all our facilities across the Gaza Strip with parties to the conflict. The Israeli Army received the coordinates including of this facility yesterday,” said UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini. 

Since the war began five months ago, UNRWA has recorded an unprecedented number of violations against its staff and facilities that surpass any other conflict around the world.   

·      At least 165 UNRWA team members killed including while in the line of duty;

·      More than 150 UNRWA facilities were hit, some totally destroyed, among them many schools;

·      More than 400 people killed while seeking shelter under the UN flag;

·      Tunnels have reportedly been found under UNRWA facilities and installations used for military activities;

·      UNRWA staff have reportedly been mistreated and humiliated while in Israeli detention centres.

“The United Nations, its personnel, premises and assets must be protected at all times. Since this war began, attacks against UN facilities, convoys and personnel have become commonplace in blatant disregard to international humanitarian law. I am calling once again for an independent inquiry into these violations and the need for accountability,” added Lazzarini.   

 

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Background Information: 

UNRWA is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. The United Nations General Assembly established UNRWA in 1949 with a mandate to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to registered Palestine refugees in the Agency’s area of operations pending a just and lasting solution to their plight.

UNRWA operates in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, The Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. 

Tens of thousands of Palestine refugees who lost their homes and livelihoods due to the 1948 conflict continue to be displaced and in need of support, nearly 75 years on.

UNRWA helps Palestine Refugees achieve their full potential in human development through quality services it provides in education, health care, relief and social services, protection, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance, and emergency assistance. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions.

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