UNRWA strongly condemns placement of rockets in school

17 July 2014

Agency Demands Full Respect for the Sanctity of Its Premises in Gaza

East Jerusalem

Yesterday, in the course of the regular inspection of its premises, UNRWA discovered approximately 20 rockets hidden in a vacant school in the Gaza Strip. UNRWA strongly condemns the group or groups responsible for placing the weapons in one of its installations. This is a flagrant violation of the inviolability of its premises under international law. This incident, which is the first of its kind in Gaza, endangered civilians including staff and put at risk UNRWA’s vital mission to assist and protect Palestine refugees in Gaza.

Immediately after discovery, the Agency informed the relevant parties and successfully took all necessary measures for the removal of the objects in order to preserve the safety and security of the school. UNRWA has launched a comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding this incident.

UNRWA has strong, established procedures to maintain the neutrality of all its premises, including a strict no-weapons policy and routine inspections of its installations, to ensure they are only used for humanitarian purposes. UNRWA will uphold and further reinforce its procedures.

Palestinian civilians in Gaza rely on UNRWA to provide humanitarian assistance and shelter. At all times, and especially during escalations of violence, the sanctity and integrity of UN installations must be respected.  

Afternote

UNRWA Gaza Beach Elementary Co-educational “B” School on 16 July 2014

The Secretary-General convened a UN HQ Board of Inquiry (BOI) on 10 November 2014  in order to investigate a number of incidents between 8 July and 26 August 2014 affecting or involving United Nations personnel, premises and operations, including the report of the presence of weaponry at this school. The Secretary-General released a summary of the BOI report on 27 April 2015 (S/2015/286).  The summary indicates that the items found were not rockets; the Board found that a 120 mm mortar tube, a mortar bipod and twenty 120 mm mortar-round containers, with ammunition, were discovered. 

Yesterday, in the course of the regular inspection of its premises, UNRWA discovered approximately 20 rockets hidden in a vacant school in the Gaza Strip. UNRWA strongly condemns the group or groups responsible for placing the weapons in one of its installations. This is a flagrant violation of the inviolability of its premises under international law. This incident, which is the first of its kind in Gaza, endangered civilians including staff and put at risk UNRWA’s vital mission to assist and protect Palestine refugees in Gaza.
Background Information: 

<p dir="RTL" style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; color: rgb(85, 85, 85); font-family: tahoma, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; text-align: justify;">تواجه الأونروا طلبا متزايدا على خدماتها بسبب زيادة عدد لاجئي فلسطين المسجلين ودرجة هشاشة الأوضاع التي يعيشونها وفقرهم المتفاقم. ويتم تمويل الأونروا بشكل كامل تقريبا من خلال التبرعات الطوعية فيما لم يقم الدعم المالي بمواكبة مستوى النمو في الاحتياجات. ونتيجة لذلك فإن الموازنة البرامجية للأونروا، والتي تعمل على دعم تقديم الخدمات الرئيسة، تعاني من عجز كبير. وتدعو الأونروا كافة الدول الأعضاء للعمل بشكل جماعي وبذل كافة الجهود الممكنة لتمويل موازنة الوكالة بالكامل. ويتم تمويل برامج الأونروا الطارئة والمشروعات الرئيسة، والتي تعاني أيضا من عجز كبير، عبر بوابات تمويل منفصلة.</p>

<p dir="RTL" style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; color: rgb(85, 85, 85); font-family: tahoma, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; text-align: justify;">تأسست الأونروا كوكالة تابعة للأمم المتحدة بقرار من الجمعية العامة في عام 1949، وتم تفويضها بتقديم المساعدة والحماية لحوالي خمسة ملايين وأربعمائة ألف لاجئ من فلسطين مسجلين لديها. وتقتضي مهمتها بتقديم المساعدة للاجئي فلسطين في الأردن ولبنان وسورية والضفة الغربية وقطاع غزة ليتمكنوا من تحقيق كامل إمكاناتهم في مجال التنمية البشرية وذلك إلى أن يتم التوصل لحل عادل ودائم لمحنتهم. وتشتمل خدمات الأونروا على التعليم والرعاية الصحية والإغاثة والخدمات الاجتماعية والبنية التحتية وتحسين المخيمات والحماية والإقراض الصغير.</p>

For more information, please contact:

Sami Mshasha
Director of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: 
+972 (0)258 90724