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United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, delivered the following speech today at the “Wihdat Palestine Refugee Camp” in Amman, Jordan:

“Assalam alaikum.

I am extremely pleased to be here at the Wihdat Camp for Palestine refugees.

We are at a centre dedicated to the wellbeing of Palestine refugees. So allow me to begin with an invitation to join me in a moment of silence in tribute to our United Nations colleagues and all others who have been killed in this conflict.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am on a Ramadan solidarity visit to Jordan to meet Palestine refugees being served by UNRWA.

UNRWA is a hot topic these days – but one fundamental thing is often being lost in the debate: people.

The real people UNRWA serves — and the real difference that UNRWA is making in their lives.

Jordan is home to 2.4 million Palestine refugees, the largest number in the region.

And today I heard some of their stories and saw a glimpse of UNRWA’s exceptional work.

I had the privilege to visit a health centre – w
here young mothers and their children are receiving high-quality primary health care, where labs perform state of the art medical tests, where a pharmacy is dispensing life-saving medication to patients at no charge.

I sat in on science and English language classes at a girls school.

I saw young women in a science lab learning and experimenting principles from Archimedes.

I visited a class teaching English along with the values of human rights and conflict resolution.

I also met with 6 truly inspiring young student parliamentarian leaders, including 3 students from Gaza.

It was a heart-warming visit in heart-breaking times.

Here in Jordan, but also in Syria, in Lebanon – and, of course, in the occupied West Bank and Gaza — UNRWA is a lifeline of hope and dignity.

Providing education for over half a million girls and boys;

Health care for around 2 million people;

Extending job opportunities and community and family support.

And ensuring a social safety net for nearly half a million of the poorest Pa

Beyond and behind those facts, UNRWA is profoundly contributing in ways that can’t be measured on a graph — advancing social cohesion, promoting stability and building peace.

Imagine if all of this was taken away.

It would be cruel and incomprehensible – especially as we honour the 171 women and men of UNRWA who have been killed in Gaza – the largest number of deaths of UN staff in our history.

As our work continues in the face of big obstacles, I am determined to ensure that UNRWA abides by the values of the United Nations in all its actions.

And so taking into account recent unacceptable events, an independent review is well underway to strengthen and improve UNRWA, and I look forward to its recommendations.

We must strive to keep the one-of-a-kind services that UNRWA provides flowing because that keeps hope flowing.

In a darkening world, UNRWA is the one ray of light for millions of people.

I see that hope here.

Now more than ever, we must not take away that hope. I trust that working
all together, we will be able to mobilize the international community to make sure that UNRWA will be able to provide their essential services to Palestine refugees here in Jordan and in all other areas where UNRWA is active.

Source: National News Agency – Lebanon