Question of Palestine home
United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
6 August 2009
6 August 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
“UNRWA Warns of the Humanitarian Impact of More Jerusalem Evictions”
Statement by UNRWA Spokesperson, Chris Gunness
UNRWA welcomes the statements this week by the international community which deplore the evictions of two families from their homes in the Jerusalem district of Sheikh Jarrah. However, UNRWA remains concerned about the other refugee families in the area and the possibility of more evictions which will cause further unacceptable humanitarian suffering. We will continue monitor this situation closely.
The families, evicted in the early hours of Sunday from the homes where they have lived for more than half a century, continue to suffer distress and shock. The children are particularly traumatised. The lasting humanitarian impact on the 53 people directly affected including 20 minors cannot be over-estimated. Seeing settlers being escorted into the houses in which some family members were born, was particularly distressing for these refugees.
Not only were they surrounded by Israeli police and security personnel at dawn, their homes broken into and their families thrown onto the streets, they have had to endure the indignity and humiliation of their personal effects being loaded onto trucks and dumped in scrub land at the edge of Jerusalem’s Route One. UNRWA has assisted the families in recovering their belongings and will store them until the issue is resolved. We are raising these cases with the Israeli authorities as a matter of urgency.
The evictions violate the rights of the refugees and international law. We call on the Israeli authorities to refrain from taking any further measures to evict other members of the Palestine refugee community in Sheikh Jarrah and to reinstate the evicted families as the United Nations Special Co-ordinator has demanded.