Secretary-General Calls Palestine Refugee Agency’s Dire Lack of Resources ‘Our Collective Failure’, Urges Effective, Innovative, Workable Solutions

SG/SM/18268-PAL/2207-REF/1246
16 November 2016

Secretary-General Calls Palestine Refugee Agency’s Dire Lack of Resources ‘Our Collective Failure’, Urges Effective, Innovative, Workable Solutions

(Delayed for technical reasons.)

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s video message to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Advisory Commission, in Amman, Jordan, on 14 November:

Your Excellency Dr. Bisher Khasawneh, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Jordan, Mr. Chairman, Ambassador Manuel Bessler, Commissioner General Mr. Pierre Krahenbuhl, distinguished members of UNRWA's Advisory Commission, ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you for this opportunity to address the UNRWA Advisory Commission.

As a community under UN protection, Palestine refugees continue to face enormous hardship and challenges.  In the Occupied Palestinian Territory, they are subjected to the indignities of an occupation that has entered its fiftieth year.  In Gaza, they have lived under an illegal blockade for nearly a decade.  In Syria, they are caught up in a merciless and seemingly endless war.  And in Lebanon, they face economic and social exclusion.

Palestine refugees deserve dignity and they deserve our full support.  UNRWA is a life-line to millions of Palestine refugees.  I urge you to find effective, innovative and workable solutions to the recurring cash shortfall faced by the Agency.  The dire lack of resources is our collective failure.  This must end.

UNRWA’s finances must be sufficient to carry out its work.  They must be predictable and sustainable.  UNRWA is essential in providing education, health, social services, protection, dignity and a chance in life.  The Agency does so with remarkable efficiency and effectiveness.

As Advisory Commission members, you are mandated by the General Assembly to serve as guardians for UNRWA.  Let us continue to work to fully support UNRWA until we are able to find a just and lasting solution; until Palestine refugees can truly enjoy peace, dignity, justice and freedom to which all people rightly aspire.

Thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.