Statement by H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza
Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See
Pledging Conference of the Ad Hoc Committee of the General Assembly for the Announcement of Voluntary Contributions to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
United Nations, New York, 25 June 2018
Mr. President of the General Assembly,
Mr. Commissioner General,
I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate the deep respect for the commitment and work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the strong words of encouragement that Pope Francis personally expressed to the UNRWA Commissioner General during a private audience on 17 March 2018.
As a concrete sign of this respect and appreciation, and in addition to direct contributions through the work of various entities of the Catholic Church in favor of Palestinian refugees, Pope Francis has asked me to transmit to UNRWA today his contribution of $ 100,000.00 to the projects of the Agency, in particular for the benefit of the children in the Palestine refugee camps.
Like UNRWA, various entities and organizations of the Catholic Church provide education, health-care and social services to Palestine refugees. Generous donors associated with the Catholic Church around the globe make these activities possible. Assistance programs are not limited to Palestine refugees, but also to Palestinians in Palestine. The Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations helps to promote annual fundraising drives to provide thousands of university scholarships and subsidized or free medical care.
As long as the plight of the Palestine refugees remains uncertain, there will be a need for UNRWA, whose work continues to be invaluable to the more than five million Palestine refugees who, without the sustained support of the Agency, would be living in even greater despair. The Holy See hopes that, sooner than later, a fair and durable solution to their predicament may be reached, through the resumption of final status negotiations between the interested parties, aimed at reaching a two-State solution, with Israel and a Palestinian State, living side by side in peace and security within internationally-recognized borders.
Thank you, Mr. President.