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India pledges US $5 million to UN Palestine refugee agency in 2019

Date: 05 July 2019 Tags: International Organizations

India has pledged to contribute US $5 million United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) core budget for the year 2019. The announcement was made during meeting of UN General Assembly Ad Hoc Committee for Voluntary Contributions to UNRWA.  India also has voiced concern over UNRWA's difficult financial situation due to voluntary contributions from limited donor base and called for ensuring sustained fiscal support for its work.

About Untied Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA)

  • It is relief and human development agency of UN which supports more than 5 million registered Palestinian refugees, and their descendants. It is only UN agency dedicated to help refugees from specific region or conflict. It is separate from UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
  • Establishment: It was established December 1949 following 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict by UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 302 (IV).
  • Mandate: Contribute to welfare and human development of Palestine refugees , who had fled or were expelled from their homes during 1948 Palestine war as well during and following 1967 Six Day war.
  • Services offered: Originally, it was intended to provide jobs on public works projects and direct relief, but now it provides services like education, health care, and social services to population it supports. It also allows refugee status to be inherited by descendants. Currently, it serves about 5.3 million refugees scattered around Middle East.
  • Region of operation: It provides aid in five areas of operation: Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Gaza Strip and West Bank, including East Jerusalem. It should be noted that aid for Palestinian refugees outside these five areas is provided by UNHCR.
  • Funding: It is mainly funded by voluntary contributions from UN member states. It also receives some funding from regular budget of UN (mostly used for international staffing costs).
  • Current Situation: It is under difficult financial situation after US, its largest contributor cut funding in 2018 by US $300 million in voluntary contributions. It has caused concern and has put to risk its core services to Palestine refugees, especially in fields of health, education and assistance to most vulnerable refugees.