Statement by Mrs. Phan
Thi Kim Hong, Representative of Viet Nam on agenda Item 33 : United
Nations Relief and Works Agency for the Palestine Refugees in the Middle East
New York, 7 November 2007
At the outset, I would like
to express our appreciations to Ms. Karen Koning AbuZayd, Commissioner-General
for her recent comprehensive annual report on the activities of the United
Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).
Viet Nam highly appreciates
the efforts made so far by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for the
Palestine Refugees in the Near East. According to the reports of the
Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine
Refugees in the Near East (A/62/13/Add.1), UNRWA currently is mandated to serve
about 4.6 million refugees, among them there are about 485,000 refugee children
and 250,000 registered Special Hardship Cases in 2007 with its tight budget and
difficult conditions. Although UNRWA has made huge efforts to overcome the
numerous obstacles to bring its services to the Palestine refugees, a large area
of ground needs to be covered.
Also according to the reports
of the Working Group on the Financing of the United Nations Relief and Works
Agency for the Palestine Refugees in the Near East (A/62/361), UNRWA’s biennium
2006-2007 budget was seriously underfunded. We would like to draw attention of
the donor community to this fact and it is our hope that committed funding will
Like the international
community, Viet Nam is deeply concerned with the day to day gravity of the
humanitarian situation suffered by the refugees which is deepened by increasing
violence and Israel’s deplorable heavy handed measures such as restrictions on
the freedom and movement of the agency’s personnel, vehicles and the goods in
the Occuppied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. Particulary in
Gaza Strip, the Israel authorities recently declared that this area was “hostile
territory” to stop providing the power and water and to force Gaza banks to shut
down. 80 per cent of registered refugees in the Gaza Strip are dependent on
UNRWA food aid.
Viet Nam wishes to underline
that the privileges and immunities of UNRWA as an organ of the United Nations
and its humanitarian work must be fully respected. We call upon the Israeli
authorities to perform its obligations under the Comay-Michelmore Agreement of
1967 and under the Fourth Geneva Convention and to facilitate the fulfilment of
the mission of UNRWA in accordance with their commitments so that the Agency
could serve better the needs of the Palestinian refugee population.
We would like to
urge all States and the United Nations Organization agencies in particular, to
give stronger support to the work of the Agency and hope that the Agency will
continue to make greater efforts and to closely cooperate and co-ordinate with
the other organizations and agencies of the United Nations system to achieve its
noble humanitarian mission. In this regard, Viet Nam wishes to reiterate its
unfailing support for the work of UNRWA in discharging its responsibilities to
provide services to the Palestinian refugees.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.