72 UNGA: Statement by Cuba, at the General Debate of the Special Political and Decolonization Committee, on Item 53 "United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees in the the Near East". New York, 6 November 2017.

Mr. Chairman,

Cuba associates itself with the statement by the representative of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

We reiterate our appreciation to the staff of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), particularly to Mr. Pierre Krahenbuhl, Commissioner-General of the Agency, for his untiring efforts and his courage and dedicated service to Palestine refugees, in such difficult conditions.

Mr. Chairman,

The Report of the Commissioner-General, contained in document A / 72/13, describes the general picture of Palestinian refugees and highlights the important work of the Agency, despite its critical financial situation.

As mentioned in the Report, despite the operational deficit faced once again by the Agency to meet the requirements of its mandate, it was able to provide human development and humanitarian assistance services quickly and effectively. Education services provided to 515,260 children and the completion of more than 8.5 million primary health care consultations stand out. This was possible through the strengthening of its operational advantages, particularly its skilled workforce of more than 30,000 officials, most of whom are refugees and members of the communities to which they provide services.


It is necessary to recognize once again the serious efforts made by the Agency's staff to extend the necessary assistance to Palestinian refugees, despite having very few resources.


Mr. Chairman,

We highlight our concern with the extremely critical financial situation of the Agency and the importance of maintaining the allocation of the necessary financial resources so that its work is not affected. The institutional strengthening of the Agency and the provision of sufficient financial resources from the regular budget of the United Nations are important to continue paying attention to the needs and rights of Palestinian refugees.

In this regard, we reject the actions of some States that question the humanitarian assistance provided by the Agency and threaten to eliminate its financial contribution, based on political justifications.

We recognize those donors and relevant stakeholders who support the Agency, and we urge them to continue to provide their contributions, with a view to ensuring a sustainable and stable financial situation that will safeguard basic programs, until the issue of Palestinian refugees is fairly solved.

In like manner, Cuba calls for joint efforts to comprehensively address the recurrent funding deficit affecting the operations of the Agency, in accordance with its mandate and with humanitarian needs.

Mr. Chairman,

In the current situation, where conflicts are intensifying in the Middle East region, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East plays a vital role in improving the difficult situation faced by Palestine refugees, especially in the provision of education, health, relief and social service programs, as well as emergency assistance.

Our country will continue to support a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, based on a two-State solution, which allows the Palestinians the right to self-determination, to have a free, independent and sovereign State, with its capital in East Jerusalem and with the pre-1967 borders; as well as the right of refugees to return.

We reiterate our firm support and solidarity for the just cause of the Palestinian people, and the need to redouble our efforts to solve the difficult situation of its refugees, in accordance with the norms and principles of international law and with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations.

Thank you very much