Some 75 countries and non-governmental organizations have pledged $130 million in financial commitments to the UN agency that assists Palestinian refugees across the Middle East, UNRWA, following a virtual conference on Tuesday. More
NOTE TO CORRESPONDENTS
A short while ago, UNRWA’s Commissioner-General, Pierre Krähenbühl, informed the Secretary-General that he was resigning, effective immediately.
The Secretary-General thanked Mr. Krähenbühl for his commitment and constant dedication to UNRWA and to Palestine refugees. The Secretary-General reiterates his appreciation to UNRWA for their excellent work, which is essential to the well-being of Palestine refugees.
Christian Saunders was named Officer-in-Charge of UNRWA earlier today.
At this time, it is vital that Member States and other partners remain committed to UNRWA and the services it provides.
It is also critical for the international community to support the crucial work performed by the Agency in the areas of health, education, and humanitarian assistance, which is a source of stability in a volatile region.
Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General
New York, 6 November 2019
NOTE TO CORRESPONDENTS
The Secretary-General has received an investigation report from the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) relating to allegations against UNRWA’s Commissioner-General, Pierre Krähenbühl.
The preliminary findings of this OIOS report exclude fraud or misappropriation of operational funds by the Commissioner-General. There are, however, managerial issues that need to be addressed.
The Secretary-General has decided to place the Commissioner-General on administrative leave while those issues are further clarified so that a final determination can be made, and any appropriate action can be taken.
The Secretary-General has designated Christian Saunders to act as the Officer-in-Charge of UNRWA in the intervening time, effective today, 6 November. Mr Saunders will lead the implementation of a management plan to strengthen the Agency, particularly in the areas of oversight and accountability.
The Secretary-General expresses his appreciation to UNRWA for their excellent and dedicated work, which is essential to the well-being of Palestine refugees. He calls upon Member States and other partners to remain committed to UNRWA and its services. It is critical for the international community to support the crucial work performed by the Agency in the areas of health, education, and humanitarian assistance, which is a source of stability in a volatile region.
New York, 6 November 2019
On 1 December, in collaboration with the General Delegation of Palestine to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, and the Council of Arab Ambassadors, UNIC Canberra held a reception at the Albert Hall in Canberra.
The celebration also featured traditional fashion show, a Palestinian cultural corner, and a photography exhibition looking at nearly seven decades of UNRWA delivering education services to Palestine refugee children in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Gaza and the West Bank.
This covers the call by the UN on 8 June asking for humanitarian access in Syria in the wake of reports of attacks on two medical facilities in eastern Aleppo, announcement by Special Advisor Jan Egeland of plans to go to 11 besieged areas in the coming days, the briefing to the Security Council by Stephen O’Brien that ‘Operating space for humanitarian actors is shrinking’ in Syria, Syrian and international experts agreeing on emergency measures to safeguard Syria’s heritage, UNICEF Ambassador Ricky Martin calling for greater efforts for children fleeing the Syria conflict, condemnation by UNRWA of the escalation of violence in Syria, which it said was claiming Palestine refugee lives and destroying civilian homes, and other items.
The update, issued on a weekly basis, aims at providing an overview of the latest UN activities in response to the crisis, based on UN material.
Inter-agency convoys deliver critical assistance to besieged towns in Rural Damascus
On 1 June, inter-agency convoys delivered critical life-saving assistance to two besieged towns in Rural Damascus: Darayya and Moadamiyeh, according to the UN spokesperson. He said that this is the first time that the UN has been able to deliver any assistance to Darayya since November 2012. The Darayya convoy delivered medicine, nutritional items for children and vaccines to some 4,000 people, while technical teams were assessing needs on the ground for future deliveries. The humanitarian situation in Darayya is dire, characterized by severe shortages of food, medicine, medical equipment and supplies, health facilities and personnel. The UN is strongly advocating for another convoy to Darayya containing food in the days to come. The Moadamiyeh convoy is the first of three planned convoys, bringing food to some 22,000 people. It is the fifth convoy to the town this year, but the first time the UN has had access since March.
Earlier, on 25 May, a joint United Nations-International Committee of the Red Cross-Syrian Arab Red Crescent convoy delivered much-needed humanitarian assistance to the hard-to-reach area of Houle in Homs. Food, nutrition, hygiene kits, and educational materials were delivered to 71,000 people. This is the third humanitarian convoy to Houle this year. Since the beginning of 2016, inter-agency operations have reached more than 800,000 civilians in need in besieged, hard-to-reach and priority cross-line areas. Many of these people have been reached more than once.
On 11 October, the Security Council formally approved the setting up of an unprecedented OPCW-UN Joint Mission to eliminate the chemical weapons programme of the Syrian Arab Republic proposed by the Secretary-General and to deploy up to 100 personnel from both organizations to implement Security Council resolution 2118 (2013). Continue reading
On 8 August, the Secretary-General hosted a working dinner for Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to discuss the conflict in Syria, including the escalating humanitarian crisis and the rise in sectarian violence. During the discussion, the Secretary-General further underscored the need to find a political solution to the crisis and to urgently renew momentum for the Continue reading
Mohammad Assaf – a resident of a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip and the first Palestinian to win the singing contest “Arab Idol” – has been named a regional youth ambassador by the United Nations agency tasked with assisting Palestinian refugees across the Middle East. The head of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees Continue reading