Middle East

Commissioner General Agency "UNRWA" Calls on the Security Council to provide protection for the agency’s role

New York, April 18 / WAM / The Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), Philippe Lazzarini, made three appeals to members of the UN Security Council, the first of which was to provide protection for the vital role played by the agency in the areas of providing vital services and protecting human rights. For Palestinian refugees, the second is to commit to a real political process completed by reaching a solution that achieves peace for Palestinians and Israelis, and the third is to work to address the deep wounds in the region that can only be healed by instilling compassion and rejecting dehumanization, calling for the necessity of rejecting the choice in sympathy among the afflicted residents of Gaza. Or hostages and their families.

This came during the briefing that Lazzarini gave before the special meeting held by the UN Security Council yesterday evening, Wednesday, to discuss developments in the Middle East, during which he stressed the importance of the agency’s mandate, as a stabilizing force in the Middle East region, and forming the backbone of relief. And coordinating humanitarian operations and life-saving aid in Gaza, warning of what he called the “malicious campaign” aimed at eliminating the work of UNRWA.
The Commissioner-General of UNRWA pointed to the serious effects left by 6 months of continuous bombing and merciless siege in Gaza, warning that the impending famine in Gaza is man-made, and pointing to the conditions of infants and young children who die daily due to malnutrition and dehydration, in A time when food and clean water are waiting for supplies, and UNRWA is not allowed to deliver this aid and save lives.
Lazzarini reviewed the negative campaign that UNRWA is facing to remove it from the occupied Palestinian territories, and accused the Israeli government of seeking to end the agency’s activities, and of working to reject all its requests to deliver relief to Gaza, as well as preventing its employees from participating in coordination meetings between Israel and humanitarian agencies.
He noted the repeated targeting operations that UNRWA facilities and employees have faced since the start of the war, which has so far caused the death of 178 of its employees since last October 7.
Philippe Lazzarini revealed the use of UNRWA facilities in Gaza for military purposes, whether by Israeli forces or Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups. He said, “UNRWA’s headquarters were militarily occupied and allegations emerged regarding the existence of tunnels under the agency’s facilities.”
He stressed that UNRWA employees who were detained by Israeli security forces spoke of horrific testimonies of ill-treatment and torture in detention, and demanded that an independent investigation be conducted and accountability be ensured for the blatant disregard for the protection status guaranteed under international law for aid workers, its activities and facilities, considering that ignoring such an investigation would set a precedent. It is dangerous and undermines all humanitarian work around the world.
The Commissioner-General of UNRWA expressed the international organization’s concern about the daily attacks by Israeli settlers, military incursions, and the destruction of homes and civilian infrastructure in the West Bank as part of the system of separation and oppression.
He informed Council members that the Agency’s operational space in the Palestinian territories is shrinking in light of arbitrary measures imposed by Israel to limit the presence and movement of staff, which makes it more difficult to keep schools and medical centers open and available to people.
He warned that the Israeli authorities are currently taking legislative and administrative measures to evacuate UNRWA from its headquarters in East Jerusalem and prevent its work inside Israel, considering that the current calls to close the agency are not related to compliance with humanitarian rules, but rather with an attempt to end the refugee status of millions of Palestinians.

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