Statement by H.E. Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United
Nations on United Nations Relief Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Agenda Item 50
November 05, 2014
On behalf of Bangladesh delegation, I would like to extend our appreciation to you and also the esteemed Bureau Members to successfully steer the Committee’s work. At the outset we congratulate the Commissioner General of UNRWA for his report and we align ourselves with the statement of NAM delivered by the representative of Islamic Republic of Iran.
The absence of a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since 1948 contributes to a strong sense of dispossession and injustice among Palestine refugees. This helps to fuel tensions which are exacerbated by the occupation since 1967 of Palestinian territory and by recurrent armed conflicts. Intra-Palestinian divisions further aggravate this volatile political climate, creating a challenging operating environment for UNRWA
This year is the most sad year for UNRWA as an institution to help Palestine refugees to achieve their full potential in human development. UNRWA shelters have been struck by shelling, causing death and injuries to multiple displaced Palestinian civilians who had sought refuge in UN installation, and deaths and injuries also included UNWRA staff members. During the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflicts, many Palestinians as many as 200,000 fled their homes
after warnings and due to air strikes or bombing or fighting in the area. There were seven shelling at UNRWA facilities in the Gaza Strip which took place between 21 July and 03 August during Israel-Gaza Conflict. At the time of the shelling the UNRWA facilities were being used as shelters for Palestinians and as a result of the shelling at least 46 civilians and 11 UNRWA officials died. All of the incidents were the result of artillery, mortars or aerial missile fire which struck on or near the UNWRA schools appalling the global community which we describe as a moral outrage and war crime.
The UNRWA installation was attacked savagely illustrating that occupying force will keep no one safe in Gaza. We express our deepest condolences to the UN family for the lives of the UN personnel so tragically taken in the Israeli aggression. The right to self defense according to the Charter does not permit such savagery and cannot preclude the wrongfulness of such actions. Nothing can justify the killing of the personnel who were trusted to serve the humanity and also massacres and maiming of children, women and men. Nothing can justify the wanton destruction of emergency shelters, homes, schools and civilian infrastructure, inflicting a humanitarian disaster with massive health, social, economic, psychological and developmental consequences and inflicting terror and trauma on an entire population.
We remain gravely concerned about the security of UNRWA staff and note the effort of UNRWA and the host governments to prevent threats to and attack on UNRWA staff while delivering their services.
Taking the volatile and confusing situation in the war-torn area in Middle East into account, Palestine refugee communities there need more attention from the international community. Vulnerability of the Palestine refugees has deepened there. While we appreciate UNRWA’s effort with cooperation of the host country, we call on all parties to take all possible steps to ensure the protection of the Palestine refugees and to ensure the Agency’s unhindered access and the supply of essential goods to them.
We reaffirm our appreciation to the donors and host countries and relevant agencies for their generous support and services extended to the Palestinian refugees and towards the sustainability of UNRWA and its operations. Refugees are always among the most vulnerable groups that depend on international assistance. We should work diligently and in partnership so that
we can create an environment not to have refuges at all. However, since we have failed to end refuges and destruction, we appeal to the international community to come forward with generous contribution particularly for funding the rehabilitation and emergency assistance programs for the refugees and more importantly, try their best sincerely and with utmost commitment and dedication to end the occupation and destruction of Palestine and help implement the two-state solution to have peace and sustainable stability in the region.
I would like to reiterate our appreciation for the commendable job done by the Commissioner General and all the staff of the Agency. They deserve a special word of thanks for their commitment and hard work in the face of continued adversities. We are proud of them and we salute them.
I thank you Mr. Chairman.