Meeting 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
New York, 2 June 2023
The Holy See wishes from the outset to express its support for the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
In light of the deteriorating situation in the wider region, the Holy See is deeply concerned and regrets the escalation in violence across the State of Israel and the State of Palestine, which has affected far too many innocent persons. As Pope Francis noted earlier this year, “The spiral of death that increases day after day does nothing other than close the few glimpses of trust that exist between the two peoples”.
Such violence has threatened the access of believers, whether Christians, Jews or Muslims, to their respective Holy Sites in Jerusalem, according to the long-standing Status Quo. Only a return to the path of peace can ensure that the dignity and rights of all inhabitants of the region are fully upheld.
Given these circumstances, the financial situation of UNRWA is deeply concerning, as recognized by General Assembly Resolution 77/122. At a time of “rising needs and expenditures resulting from the deterioration of the socioeconomic and humanitarian conditions” in the region, the regular budget and voluntary contributions for UNRWA have remained stagnant.
Such stagnation prevents the agency from carrying out all “vital services for the well-being, human development and protection of the Palestine refugees and the amelioration of their plight”. In the absence of such activities, there is a real risk that essential aid to those in need is cut at a precarious time. This would not only contribute to an increase in the prevalence of poverty but may also bring feelings of desperation and a temptation for some to resort to violence.
In the face of such desperation, Pope Francis expressed hope “that the authorities of the State of Israel and those of the State of Palestine can recover the courage and determination to dialogue directly for the sake of implementing the two-state solution in all its aspects, in conformity with international law and all the pertinent resolutions of the United Nations”.
“Pending the just resolution of the question of the Palestine refugees” in accordance with the two-state solution, the work of UNRWA will remain imperative for ensuring that Palestine refugees can live in dignity.
As a sign of continued support for the work of UNRWA and as an expression of solidarity with Palestine refugees, the Holy See is renewing its financial pledge to UNRWA, dedicated to the care and education of children, who suffer in the face of wavering efforts to bring about a peaceful resolution to a conflict that they had no part in making.
In recognition of the agency’s significant financial needs, as Mr. Lazzarini stressed in his recent visit to His Holiness Pope Francis, the Holy See encourages all States to consider renewing their commitment in a clear and unequivocal way to the work of UNRWA and making their own contribution. These contributions are a practical reflection of the “continuing responsibility of the international community as a whole to assist the Palestine refugees”.
In closing, the Holy See reiterates its continued focus on the work of UNRWA and support for humanitarian efforts aiding refugees across the world.
Thank you, Mr. President.
 Cf. Pope Francis, Address to Members of the Diplomatic Corps Accredited to the Holy See, 9 January 2023.
 Pope Francis, Angelus, 29 January 2023.
 Idem., 3.
 Pope Francis, Address to Members of the Diplomatic Corps Accredited to the Holy See, 9 January 2023.
 A/RES/77/122., 19.