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Approved by the General Assembly Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) on 07/11/2008.
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[ on the report of the Special Political and Decolonization Committee
(Fourth Committee) (A/63/400)]
63/93. Operations of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East
The General Assembly ,
Recalling its resolutions 194 (III) of 11 December 1948, 212 (III) of 19 November 1948, 302 (IV) of 8 December 1949 and all subsequent related resolutions, including its resolution 62/104 of 17 December 2007,
Recalling also the relevant Security Council resolutions,
Having considered the report of the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East covering the period from 1 January to 31 December 2007,1
Taking note of the letter dated 11 June 2008 from the Chairman of the Advisory Commission of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East addressed to the Commissioner-General,2
Deeply concerned about the critical financial situation of the Agency, as well as about its rising expenditures resulting from the deterioration of the socio-economic and humanitarian conditions in the region and their significant negative impact on the provision of necessary Agency services to the Palestine refugees, including its emergency-related and development programmes,
Recalling Articles 100, 104 and 105 of the Charter of the United Nations and the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations,3
Recalling also the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel,4
Affirming the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949,5 to the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem,
Aware of the continuing needs of the Palestine refugees throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory and in the other fields of operation, namely Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic,
Gravely concerned about the extremely difficult living conditions being faced by the Palestine refugees in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly in the refugee camps in the Gaza Strip, resulting, inter alia, from the loss of life and injury, the extensive destruction of their shelters, properties and vital infrastructure, the displacement of the Palestine refugees, the prolonged closures and socio-economic decline,
Aware of the extraordinary efforts being undertaken by the Agency for the repair or rebuilding of thousands of damaged or destroyed refugee shelters and for the provision of shelter and emergency aid for those refugee families internally displaced as a result of Israeli military actions, as well as for those refugees affected and displaced by the crisis in the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp in northern Lebanon, and welcoming the efforts of the Government of Lebanon and the international community to support the rebuilding by the Agency of the Nahr el-Bared camp,
Welcoming, in this regard, the pledges made at the International Donor Conference for the Recovery and Reconstruction of the Nahr el-Bared Palestine Refugee Camp and Conflict-affected Areas of Northern Lebanon, held in Vienna on 23 June 2008, and urging the early fulfilment of pledges as well as a rapid response by donors to the additional relief and recovery appeal for the Nahr el-Bared camp launched by the Agency on 11 September 2008,
Aware of the valuable work done by the Agency in providing protection to the Palestinian people, in particular Palestine refugees,
Gravely concerned about the endangerment of the safety of the Agency’s staff and about the damage caused to the facilities of the Agency, in particular as a result of Israeli military operations during the reporting period,
Deploring the killing of nineteen Agency staff members by the Israeli occupying forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territory since September 2000,
Also deploring the killing and wounding of refugee children, including in the Agency’s schools, by the Israeli occupying forces,
Expressing deep concern about the gravely negative impact of the continuing closures, the imposition of severe restrictions on the movement of persons and goods, and the construction of the wall, contrary to international law, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, on the socio-economic situation of the Palestine refugees,
Deeply concerned about the continuing imposition of restrictions on the freedom of movement and access of the Agency’s staff, vehicles and goods, and the injury, harassment and intimidation of the Agency’s staff, which undermine and obstruct the work of the Agency, including its ability to provide essential basic and emergency services,
Aware of the agreement between the Agency and the Government of Israel,
Taking note of the agreement reached on 24 June 1994, embodied in an exchange of letters between the Agency and the Palestine Liberation Organization,6
1. Reaffirms that the functioning of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East remains essential in all fields of operation;
2. Expresses its appreciation to the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, as well as to all of the staff of the Agency, for their tireless efforts and valuable work, particularly in the light of the difficult conditions during the past year;
3. Expresses its appreciation also to the Advisory Commission of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East of the Agency, and requests it to continue its efforts and to keep the General Assembly informed of its activities;
4. Takes note with appreciation of the report of the Working Group on the Financing of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East 7 and the efforts of the Working Group to assist in ensuring the financial security of the Agency, and requests the Secretary-General to provide the necessary services and assistance to the Working Group for the conduct of its work;
5. Commends the continuing efforts of the Commissioner-General to increase the budgetary transparency and efficiency of the Agency, as reflected in the Agency’s programme budget for the biennium 2008–20098 and in its comprehensive, three-year organizational development plan;
6. Requests the Secretary-General to support the institutional strengthening of the Agency through the provision of sufficient financial resources from the regular budget of the United Nations;
7. Endorses , meanwhile, the efforts of the Commissioner-General to continue to provide humanitarian assistance, as far as practicable, on an emergency basis, and as a temporary measure, to persons in the area who are internally displaced and in serious need of continued assistance as a result of recent crises in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Lebanon;
8. Acknowledges the important support provided by the host Governments to the Agency in the discharge of its duties;
9. Encourages the Agency, in close cooperation with other relevant United Nations entities, to continue making progress in addressing the needs and rights of children and women in its operations in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child9 and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women,10 respectively;
10. Expresses concern about the continuing relocation of the international staff of the Agency from its headquarters in Gaza City and the disruption of operations at the headquarters due to the deterioration and instability of the situation on the ground;
11. Calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to comply fully with the provisions of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949; 5
12. Also calls upon Israel to abide by Articles 100, 104 and 105 of the Charter of the United Nations and the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations 3 in order to ensure the safety of the personnel of the Agency, the protection of its institutions and the safeguarding of the security of its facilities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem;
13. Urges the Government of Israel to speedily compensate the Agency for damage to its property and facilities resulting from actions by the Israeli side and to expeditiously reimburse the Agency for all transit charges incurred and other financial losses sustained by the Agency as a result of delays and restrictions on movement and access imposed by Israel;
14. Calls upon Israel particularly to cease obstructing the movement and access of the staff, vehicles and supplies of the Agency and to cease the levying of extra fees and charges, which affect the Agency’s operations detrimentally;
15. Requests the Commissioner-General to proceed with the issuance of identification cards for Palestine refugees and their descendants in the Occupied Palestinian Territory;
16. Reiterates its request to the Commissioner-General to proceed with the modernization of the archives of the Agency through the Palestine Refugee Records Project, and to indicate progress in her report to the General Assembly at its sixty-fourth session;
17. Notes the success of the Agency’s microfinance and microenterprise programmes, and calls upon the Agency, in close cooperation with the relevant agencies, to continue to contribute to the development of the economic and social stability of the Palestine refugees in all fields of operation;
18. Reiterates its appeals to all States, specialized agencies and non-governmental organizations to continue and to augment the special allocations for grants and scholarships for higher education to Palestine refugees in addition to their contributions to the regular budget of the Agency and to contribute to the establishment of vocational training centres for Palestine refugees, and requests the Agency to act as the recipient and trustee for the special allocations for grants and scholarships;
19. Urges all States, specialized agencies and non-governmental organizations to continue and to increase their contributions to the Agency so as to ease the ongoing financial constraints, exacerbated by the current humanitarian situation on the ground that has resulted in rising expenditures, in particular with regard to emergency services, and to support the Agency’s valuable and necessary work in assisting the Palestine refugees in all fields of operation.
1Official Records of the General Assembly, Sixty-third Session, Supplement No. 13 (A/63/13).
2Ibid., p. vii-ix.
3Resolution 22 A (I).
4United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 2051, No. 35457.
5Ibid., vol. 75, No. 973.
6Official Records of the General Assembly, Forty-ninth Session, Supplement No. 13 (A/49/13), annex I.
8Official Records of the General Assembly, Sixty-second Session, Supplement No. 13A (A/62/13/Add.1).
9United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1577, No. 27531.
10Ibid., vol. 1249, No. 20378.