RESPONSE TO THE NEW DAVID BEDEIN FILM BY UNRWA SPOKESPERSON CHRIS GUNNESS
19 April 2015
The accusation that UNRWA has been taken over by Hamas and is complicit in the recruitment of children is presented in the commentary of a new film by David Bedein as fact, without any evidence. This is because there is no evidence.
What a shame Roim Olam – a weekly foreign news magazine aired on Israel public Television Channel 1 News – chose not to give its audience a fair and balanced portrait of UNRWA’s education work with a quarter a million children in Gaza, showing our human rights classes that inculcate a sense of universal values; our summer fun weeks with recreational activities that attempt to give a sense of normalcy; our psychiatric counselling with tens of thousands of children injured, maimed, blinded and traumatized during the conflict last summer and our efforts to rebuild destroyed homes of countless children.
I am surprised that an award winning editor can broadcast such biased and false allegations without any evidence or proof.
UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.
Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 100 million.
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