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UNRWA operations in support of hope and dignity for Palestine refugees continues
We are aware of media reports referring to a document submitted to UNHQ and citing allegations against senior UNRWA officials. We are also aware of an ongoing OIOS investigation (UN investigation office at UNHQ in NY), which we understand is still in fact-finding stage. To date, no findings of that ongoing investigation have been shared with UNRWA, nor have any of the staff members referred to in the media been notified as subjects of the investigation. What is currently being circulated in the media and elsewhere represents allegations and rumors, and not the official findings of an independent investigation.
UNRWA fully cooperates with UN investigations, which are an essential component of the efforts within the UN to preserve integrity, credibility, and trust. It is the duty of all staff to fully cooperate with the investigation. While an investigation is underway, the Agency and its staff members are not at liberty to comment on specific allegations or on rumors and must not interfere with or otherwise comment on specific elements of an investigation. UNRWA is awaiting the outcome of the investigation and will not hesitate to take firm corrective measures or other management actions as may be required.
In the meantime, the Agency is committed to fulfilling its mission in support of Palestine refugees, despite considerable challenges and pressures. Over the past 18 months, UNRWA and its entire staff have steered this proud and essential organization, serving 5.4 million Palestine refugees through the most unprecedented financial crisis in its near 70 years of history. We were able to close the unprecedented financial shortfall in 2018 (over 440 million USD) thanks to tremendous donor support and measures taken by the Agency. The successful outcome of our global mobilization was the result of decisive leadership, exemplary support by refugee-hosting countries and our fantastic partners and donor countries.
We will continue to act decisively to protect UNRWA services, including through opening our schools on time in late August/early September. We trust that our successful operations in support of hope and dignity for Palestine refugees will continue to earn us the support and trust of all our partners, including the member states of the UN General Assembly who have given UNRWA its mandate.
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 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem 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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