UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Monday expressed his support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and his admiration for its role, a UN spokesman said.
“He wishes to express his support for UNRWA and his admiration for the role it plays in delivering essential services and protecting the rights of millions of Palestine refugees across the Middle East,” said Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for Guterres, at the daily briefing.
“The Secretary-General is concerned about recent public criticism of UNRWA and the integrity of its operations,” he said.
UNRWA is mandated by the General Assembly whose members have repeatedly acknowledged the agency’s unique contribution to peace and security in that region, said Haq.
UNRWA operates in the front lines of difficult conflict situations and provides education for half a million refugee children. Its education and relief activities contribute critically to stability in the region, Haq noted.
“The secretary-general calls on all member states to continue their support to the agency in order for UNRWA to be in a position to fulfil impartially and efficiently its essential role and to implement its humanitarian mandate to serve Palestinian refugees until a just and durable solution to their situation is found,” he said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for the dismantling of the UN agency that aids millions of Palestinian refugees.
UNRWA was established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some five million registered Palestinian refugees.
The UN agency helps Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip and provides services including education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance to them. Enditem