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UNRWA condemns bombardment killing Palestine refugee woman and destroying school
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) strongly condemns the parties responsible for fatal explosions on 16 June in Khan Eshieh Palestine refugee camp situated in the south-west of rural Damascus. One Palestine refugee was killed and an unconfirmed number were injured. The injured included at least one child who had been participating in summer activities in an UNRWA facility when a large explosion directly hit an UNRWA school next door, destroying the building. The school had not been in use for many months.
Khan Eshieh camp was hit by several explosive munitions over the course of the day on 16 June, first at around 01:00am by explosions believed to be caused by mortar shells. Then around 11:30am, the camp was hit by heavy munitions reportedly including at least one barrel bomb delivered by aircraft.
UNRWA deplores the loss of life, injuries and trauma inflicted on Palestinian civilians, including children. UNRWA is appalled by the explosion affecting United Nations premises and calls on all parties to this conflict to recognize and respect the sanctity, neutrality and inviolability of UN premises. UNRWA calls on the Government of Syria to ensure respect for and compliance with its obligations under international law. UNRWA also calls on armed groups in Syria to respect and abide by their international legal obligations. There must be an end to all actions that threaten the lives and wellbeing of Palestinian and Syrian civilians throughout Syria.
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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