"Political failure" is reason why UNRWA exists

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The Long Journey of Palestine Refugees. Photo: UNRWA/Mia Grondahl (2002)

Political failure accounts for the existence of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), according to the UN Secretary-General.

Ban Ki-moon was on Tuesday speaking at an event to mark the 65th anniversary of the UN agency which he described as a "lifeline" to millions of Palestinians.

UNRWA says they face numerous challenges including the ongoing Israeli occupation, the blockade on Gaza, the conflict in Syria, and constant instability.

Stephanie Coutrix reports.

The UN chief said on Tuesday that the international community is marking all of the good that UNRWA has done over the past 65 years.

However, he said this anniversary should not have had to be marked because the agency was never meant to exist for this long.

Here's UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

"The needs of the Palestine refugee community continue to grow – dwarfing the resources available to UNRWA.  This gap is compounded by deteriorating socioeconomic conditions in the region.  The result is deepening pain and vulnerability for Palestine refugees"

The UN chief said he is repeating his call to the leaders of Israel, Palestine and all parties with influence to resume meaningful negotiations without further delay.

He said the Palestine refugee community needs the world's full solidarity at what he called this "troubled time". 

Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations.

Duration: 1'01″

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