Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General On Alec Collett

23 November 2009

23 November 2009

New York

The Secretary-General has been informed that the remains of Alec Collett, who was on assignment for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and disappeared in Lebanon in 1985, have been found in eastern Lebanon.

The Secretary-General appreciates the role played by the relevant authorities in the United Kingdom and in Lebanon to resolve this matter after so many years. He is grateful for the work done by the Department of Safety and Security in helping to determine what happened to Mr. Collett. Although he is saddened by Alec Collett‘s death, he hopes that the actions taken to find his remains can provide a measure of comfort to his loved ones.

The Secretary-General expresses his sincere sympathies to Alec Collett‘s family and would like to restate the commitment of the United Nations to assist them in the days ahead.

Background Information

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA Programme Budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s Programme Budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, 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 and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.

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