New York City, 25 December 2023(TDI): Egypt’s permanent representative to the UN and chair of the Fifth Committee, Osama Mahmoud Abdelkhalek Mahmoud, inaugurated the session, highlighting the notable improvements in the proposed resolutions and evaluations.
He said that the majority of the draft assessments and resolutions had been decided upon the day before and needed to be edited and reviewed for clarity.
He also stated during the meeting, “As Chair of the Fifth Committee, I can only say that I fulfilled my promise to the UN General Assembly today.”
“It gives me great pleasure to have presided over the committee’s final session this morning, which marked a record-breaking time for the committee to finish its work before the holidays,” he added.
UN Budget for 2024 approved
The UN budget for 2024 was also approved, as reported by UN General Assembly President Dennis Francis. The attendees, the Bureau, and the Chair of the Fifth Committee were also congratulated for effectively wrapping up the main session on time.
During the session, Cuba’s envoy also proposed a resolution denouncing the killing of UNRWA officials and the destruction of UN-established buildings. The battle in Gaza and the situation of Palestinian refugees prompted debate.
The movement was accepted with 101 votes in favor, 1 against Israel, and 56 abstentions.
UNRWA Staff Deaths
During a committee discussion on objectives and UN entities, Cuba’s envoy stressed that 136 UNRWA staff members had died in the last two months. In the same way, he urged that dead colleagues deserve protection and should no longer be killed.
The UN secretary general brought attention to the fact that, in just 75 days, about 136 of our colleagues in Gaza had lost their lives—a record not previously witnessed in UN history.
He stated, “Most of our staff have been forced from their homes, and I pay tribute to them and the thousands of aid workers risking their lives as they support civilians in Gaza.”
During a UN Security Council meeting, Riyad Mansour, the Permanent Observer of Palestine, stated that a 12-year-old Palestinian girl had the most beautiful name, Dunya, which means “the world,” and that she had lost her parents, sister, and brother to Israeli shelling of her home.
Furthermore, delegates expressed support for UNRWA’s efforts and criticism of Gaza’s humanitarian situation, but argued that the Fifth Committee is not suitable for discussing larger concerns beyond human resources and budgetary matters.
Also, the group stresses the significance of resolving this matter, focusing on justice, and respecting the legacy of the dead. It also calls on Member States to protect UNRWA staff, and it encourages delegates to support the resolution.
According to UN reports, Israel’s delegate voted against the resolution, calling it biased because it apparently ignored what really happened in Gaza following Hamas’s declaration of war on October 7.