Statement of H.E. Halit Çevik, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Turkey at the IVth Committee

Halit Çevik 07.11.2012
Mr. Chair,

Having very recently assumed my responsibilities as the Permanent Representative of Turkey, allow me to start by greeting the participant delegations in the meeting and congratulating the Committee for its effective work.

As the Chair of the Working Group of the Financing of UNRWA, we felt the necessity and the moral duty to highlight some important challenges UNRWA is facing in fulfilling its mandate, given by the General Assembly. I would like to underline that these challenges are of vital importance to refugee Palestinian families in need of shelter, food, clean water, schools for the children, medical care and so on.

UNRWA is tasked to provide humanitarian and human development services to Palestine refugees, in five different locations in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and in the occupied Palestinian territory. As the conflict endured, the number of the refugees in need has accumulated to five million; a population comparable to or even larger than many nations under this roof. Furthermore, the socio-political developments in the Middle East and North Africa led to further deterioration of the existing circumstances. Ongoing crisis within Syria and its spillover effect into neighboring countries, continuing illegal blockade on Gaza with its not only humanitarian but also financial burden on UNRWA operations, are also components of the difficulties, which UNRWA has to deal on a daily basis.

The report of the Commissioner General of UNRWA and the report of the Working Group reflect the situation which the Palestine refugees are going through. UNRWA’s prospect of success is directly linked with the timely support we can all grant. Certainly there needs to be efforts for increased efficiency, for maximization of output and for broadening the donor-base to the Agency’s operations. In both reports we see the encouraging achievements of UNRWA on those tracks in the past year. Yet, at the end of the day, UNRWA’s ultimate performance can only be a derivative of the awareness of the international community about the matter.

Last month my predecessor sent a letter to the UN Secretary General, the President of the UN General Assembly, Chairs of the regional groups at the UN, the representatives of the African Union, the League of Arab States, the Organization of the Islamic States and the European Union, calling for immediate attention to the dire financial situation of the UNRWA. Here I would like to reiterate: If the UNRWA General Fund is not supported immediately with 37.4 million Dollars, the Agency will not be able to pay the salaries of its education, health, relief and social services personnel, for the month of December 2012. UNRWA urgently needs 54 million Dollars to provide emergency assistance, food assistance and non-food items to the Palestine refugee population of 520,000 inside Syria. In Gaza, UNRWA’s emergency appeal is less than 50% funded. These are only some imminent signals ahead of us.

Mr. Chair,

Before I conclude, allow me to express our gratitude to the traditional donors of UNRWA for their continuous support, our sincere thanks to the countries who have contributed to UNRWA budget for the first time in the past year or increased their donations, and urge the international community to extend their full support to the Palestine refugees.

Having increased its contribution to UNRWA consistently in the past five years, Turkey shall continue to support its Palestinian sisters and brothers during this dire period.

Thank you Mr. Chair.