LONDON: The Doha Forum has honored staff from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East for their humanitarian work in Gaza and throughout the region.
Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani presented the award to UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini on Sunday.
“UNRWA stands with the people of Gaza as they go through their darkest hours. This award is in recognition of the lifesaving and irreplaceable work that my colleagues are doing especially in the Gaza Strip and across the region,” Lazzarini said in his acceptance speech.
The agency houses more than 1.2 million displaced Palestinians in its facilities throughout the Gaza Strip, and its workers are continuing with relief efforts despite suffering tragic losses.
“At least 70 percent have been displaced, some multiple times. They take their children to work so if they die, they die together,” said Lazzarini.
The ceremony was not just a moment of honor but also of mourning, with Lazzarini lamenting the deaths of 134 UNRWA colleagues during the war in Gaza.
“This number is the highest ever recorded in the history of the UN. The world should honor their memory. UNRWA will never be the same without them,” he said.
According to UNRWA, the number of Palestinians killed during the war in proportion to the population is the highest it has been since the turn of the century. At least 70 percent of those killed are women and children.
“I urge world leaders to put an end to this war, for the sake of global peace and stability and to reach a longer-term political solution to what is one of the longest unresolved crises in history,” said Lazzarini.