by Mr. Hoang Chi Trung, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to the United Nations on Agenda Item 31: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for the Palestine Refugees in the Near East
New York, 31 October 2006
First of all, as this is the first time my delegation speaks before this committee, please allow me to congratulate you on your assumption of the chairmanship of the Special Political and Decolonization Committee. Likewise, our felicitations also go to the other members of the bureau. Our delegation wishes to thank Mrs. Karen Koning AbuZayd, UNRWA’s Commissioner-General, for the annual comprehensive report on the work of the agency during the period from January 1 to December 31 2005, and her letter addressed to the President of the General Assembly dated 28 September 2006.
Vietnam highly appreciates the efforts made so far by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for the Palestine Refugees in the Near East. In our view, the Agency has done an excellent job in discharging its important mandate. Obviously, during the past five decades, UNRWA has made tremendous efforts to overcome the numerous obstacles to bring its service to the Palestine refugees. We are happy to note that it has made further headway during the last year in implementing its regular programmes. We commend the agency for its efforts to provide education, health and social services to the people in need in the region. Most noteworthy of all is the fact that thanks to UNWRA and its people, hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children have had the opportunity to go to schools and many more have had the chance to enjoy better conditions to improve their lives.
We would like to urge the United Nations to give stronger support to the work of the agency and hope that the agency will continue to enjoy close cooperation and coordination with the other organizations and agencies in the United Nations family.
Our delegation is deeply concerned with the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Unemployment and poverty rates have increased dramatically in the past year. According to the report of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People issued on 28 September 2006, about 2 million Palestinians which constitute 51% of the population were unable to meet their daily food needs without assistance. The plight of the Palestinian people in general has remained extremely difficult due to the worsening security and economic situation. The violence in the region continues to persist despite that many efforts have been made to bring the Middle East to a durable peace. We call on Israel to stop its military operations and to lift the internal and external curfews and closures they still impose in the area. These activities of Israel continue to hinder the efforts made by UNRWA to implement its humanitarian functions in supporting the Palestine refugees.
The restrictions imposed by the Israeli authorities on the freedom and movement of the agency’s personnel, vehicles and goods are a matter of grave concerns to the international community. In this connection, our delegation wishes to underline that the privileges and immunities of UNRWA as an organ of the United Nations must be fully respected and actions that impede the normal work of the agency must be eliminated. We call upon the Israeli authorities to make efforts to facilitate the work of UNRWA in accordance with their commitments so that the agency could serve better the needs of the Palestine refugees.
Finally, our delegation wishes to reiterate our strong support for the work of UNRWA in discharging its responsibilities to provide services to the Palestinian refugees.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman./.