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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
4 September 2009

Spokesperson's Noon Briefing

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York


The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Marie Okabe, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.


**Questions and Answers


Question:  Marie, does the Secretary-General have any reaction to the continuing stories about UNRWA and the teaching of the Holocaust in Gaza?

Deputy Spokesperson:  I think I sent you a statement from UNRWA yesterday on this.  At this moment, I have nothing beyond that.

Question:  So there is nothing new on that?  Because it is being reported that UNRWA is not planning to teach Holocaust education at all, and the Simon Wiesenthal Centre has protested about several statements by UN officials and asked the Secretary-General to remove them from their jobs.

Deputy Spokesperson:  Well, first of all, UNRWA does have a statement out.  I refer you to the UNRWA statement.  If there is anything further from the Secretary-General, I will give it to you later.  But, as far as that issue is concerned, UNRWA implements a human rights, conflict resolution and tolerance programmes in its schools in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza.  In Gaza, UNRWA is strengthening this programme by developing a dedicated human rights curriculum anchored in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  UNRWA is committed to human rights education and rejects any denial of the holocaust as a historical event.  And, as far as, I think you mentioned the top officials at UNRWA, they are ably continuing their jobs and are carrying out their mandate to bring assistance to those in desperate need in the West Bank and Gaza.  Masood.

Question:  Marie, I want to find out about these Gaza crossings that UNRWA had said that, asked Israelis authorities to open them up to allow some equipment to come through so that water can be provided to them.  What has happened?  Has the Israelis responded at all?

Deputy Spokesperson:  I have not received an update on the situation from UNWRWA today, but hopefully we will get one to see, because the, as you mentioned, they did yesterday strongly appeal for immediate assistance to ease the impact of the water and sanitation crisis there.  Yes.

Question:  The other thing that I wanted to ask about also, that the Israelis have announced that they will continue settlement building in the West Bank.  Is there any response?


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For information media • not an official record

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