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United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
23 May 2005
Press Release No. HQ/G/13/2005
23 May 2005
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
UNRWA Protests Armed Violation of its
Premises and Threats to its Staff
On 18 May three armed and hooded men entered the UNRWA clinic in the Far'a Refugee camp. Using threats and intimidation they forced an UNRWA doctor to leave the clinic and instructed him that he was never to return.
While leaving the building, and still in the clinic yard, the three gunmen fired several bullets in the air causing great distress to staff and patients at the clinic, including large numbers of young children.
The three men then proceeded to the girls’ school in the camp where they paraded through the school compound, terrifying the students. They then threatened the school principal and demanded that a teacher be barred from the school.
UNRWA views these threatening and dangerous actions with grave concern. The Agency’s mandate is to render humanitarian assistance to Palestine refugees. Any interference by armed force in the operation of its mandate is absolutely unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Aggressive action by gunmen will not be allowed to dictate how the Agency does its work or who to hire and fire from its staff.
The interference of these gunmen is in violation of UNRWA’s privileges and immunities as part of the United Nations and constitutes a breach of the agreement signed by UNRWA and the Palestinian Authority which ensures the protection and security of the personnel, installations and property of the Agency. UNRWA will request that the Palestinian Authority investigates and takes action against those who carried out these acts of intimidation.
To register its protest and underscore the Agency’s concern about the safety of its staff, the UNRWA clinic in Far’a camp will close its doors for on hour on Tuesday 24 May (10:00 – 11:0am).
For more information call Sami Mshasha on +972 (0)2 589 0408