Statement by Christopher Gunness, UNRWA Spokesperson
On 15 October 2017, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) discovered the existence of what appeared to be a tunnel underneath one of its schools in Gaza. In accordance with its protocol, the Agency has taken the necessary measures immediately to render the school safe and has sealed the cavity underneath its premises. The school resumed its operations on the 25th of October.
UNRWA has robustly intervened with relevant parties to protest the violation of the sanctity and disrespect of the neutrality of UN premises. The presence of a tunnel underneath an UNRWA installation, which enjoys inviolability under international law, is unacceptable. It places children and Agency staff at risk.
The Agency again demands full respect for the neutrality and inviolability of United Nations premises at all times. Any activities or conduct that put beneficiaries and staff alike at risk, and undermine the ability of UNRWA staff to provide assistance to Palestine refugees in safety and security, must cease.