UN / GAZA UNRWA LAZZARINI

The Commissioner-General of the United Nations Palestine Refugees Agency (UNRWA), Philippe Lazzarini, told journalists in New York that attacks on UNRWA, “are not necessarily motivated because of neutrality issues, but are primarily motivated by the objective to strip the Palestinians from the refugee statute.” UNIFEED
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STORY: UN / GAZA UNRWA LAZZARINI
TRT: 03:13
SOURCE: UNIFEED
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 23 APRIL 2024, NEW YORK CITY / FILE

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Shotlist

FILE - NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, exterior UN Headquarters

23 APRIL 2024, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, press room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner-General, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA):
“The attack on UNRWA, are not necessarily motivated because of neutrality issues, but are primarily motivated by the objective to strip the Palestinians from the refugee statute. And this is the reason why there are pushes today for UNRWA not to be present anymore in Gaza, but it's not only Gaza, we are also under a number of pressure when it comes to Jerusalem and the West Bank.”
4. Med shot, journalists
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner-General, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA):
“We had more than 160 premises which have been damaged or completely destroyed, with 400 people at least having been killed when they were seeking the protection of the UN flag. We have also reports that our premises which have been vacated, have been used for military purposes, either by the Israeli army, but also Hamas or other, political faction or armed groups on the ground.”
6. Med shot, journalists
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner-General, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA):
“You have seen in the report also and the Agency in reality has already a number of systems to deal with neutrality issues, far ahead than the average of other UN agencies or even NGOs. But because of the complexity of the environment we are operating in, we need to be extremely vigilant, and we can always do more.”
7. Wide shot, dais
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner-General, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA):
“We keep hearing also that UNRWA is perpetrating the refugee status, which is nonsense. Basically, it's as if you would say that the humanitarian response in a conflict zone is perpetuating the conflict. The reality is that it is perpetuated because of the absence of a political solution.”
9. Wide shot, journalists
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner-General, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA):
“A peace process per se, is not enough. What we need is healing. Now, I have been struck until now that the empathy in this part of the world is most of the time unilateral. It's empathy only for the Palestinian and not understanding where the Israeli are coming from, and the trauma October 7th has created in the country. Or the empathy is completely for the Israeli with absolutely no empathy for the Palestinian. And I believe that this inability to express mutual empathy is at the source of the dehumanisation of the conflict.”
11. Wide shot, end of presser

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Storyline

The Commissioner-General of the United Nations Palestine Refugees Agency (UNRWA), Philippe Lazzarini, today (23 Apr) told journalists in New York that attacks on UNRWA, “are not necessarily motivated because of neutrality issues, but are primarily motivated by the objective to strip the Palestinians from the refugee statute.”

Lazzarini said this was “the reason why there are pushes today for UNRWA not to be present anymore in Gaza, but it's not only Gaza, we are also under a number of pressure when it comes to Jerusalem and the West Bank.”

The Commissioner-General noted that 180 UNRWA staff have so far been killed in Gaza since 7 October.

He said, “we had more than 160 premises which have been damaged or completely destroyed, with 400 people at least having been killed when they were seeking the protection of the UN flag. We have also reports that our premises - which have been vacated - have been used for military purposes, either by the Israeli army, but also Hamas or other, political faction or armed groups on the ground.”

On the Colonna Report, Lazzarini said, “you have seen in the report also and the Agency in reality has already a number of systems to deal with neutrality issues, far ahead than the average of other UN agencies or even NGOs. But because of the complexity of the environment we are operating in, we need to be extremely vigilant, and we can always do more.”

He said, “we keep hearing also that UNRWA is perpetrating the refugee status, which is nonsense. Basically, it's as if you would say that the humanitarian response in a conflict zone is perpetuating the conflict. The reality is that it is perpetuated because of the absence of a political solution.”

On the aftermath of the conflict, the Commissioner-General said, “a peace process per se, is not enough. What we need is healing. Now, I have been struck until now that the empathy in this part of the world is most of the time unilateral. It's empathy only for the Palestinian and not understanding where the Israeli are coming from, and the trauma October 7th has created in the country. Or the empathy is completely for the Israeli with absolutely no empathy for the Palestinian. And I believe that this inability to express mutual empathy is at the source of the dehumanisation of the conflict.”

The Chair of the Independent Review Group on the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Catherine Colonna, on Saturday submitted her Final Report, entitled “Independent review of mechanisms and procedures to ensure adherence by UNRWA to the humanitarian principle of neutrality."

The Secretary-General accepted the recommendations contained in the report, and has agreed with Lazzarini, that UNRWA will establish an action plan to implement its recommendations.

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