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Viet Nam & UN
Agenda Item 33 : United Nations Relief and Works Agency for the Palestine Refugees in the Middle East
11-07-2007, 12:14 am

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

Mr. Chairman,

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).

Mr. Chairman,

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 be provided.

Mr. Chairman,

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.


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