Palestine Refugees Current Affairs - 2020

India contributes US$ 5 million to UNRWA in support of Palestine refugees

India has contributed US $5 million to United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The contribution was provided in support of UNRWA’s core programmes and services, including education, health care, and relief and social services.

About UN 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).

Founded: It was established December 1949 following 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict by UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 302 (IV).

Mandate: Its mandate is to 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: It originally offered services 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.

Areas of Operation: It provides aid in 5 areas of operation viz. Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Gaza Strip and West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Whereas, UNHCR provides aid for Palestinian refugees outside these five areas.

Funded: It is funded by voluntary contributions from member states of UN. It also receives some funding from regular budget of UN (mostly used for international staffing costs). India has increased its annual financial contribution to UNRWA from US $1.25 million in 2016 to US$ 5 million in 2018 and 2019.

UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA): India pledges $5 million for Palestine Refugees

India has pledged $5 million for United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) in the Near East. Besides India, 19 countries also made pledges (contributions) for UNRWA at the Pledging Conference for UNRWA held in New York, US. Among the donors, Sweden has pledge to contribute US $250 million over four years, $ 51 million and UAE $50 million.

Background

UNRWA’s financial situation had become catastrophic due to sudden loss of US $300 million in voluntary contributions.  It is facing shortfall of $250 million. This comes after US President Donald Trump announced in January 2018 that US will cut its contributions to UNRWA, questioning value of such funding. The agency was expecting $365 million from US (Its largest contributor) but has received only $65 million of $125 million it had planned to send to UNRWA.  In March 2018, India had announced at conference in Rome (Italy) that it was raising its annual contributions from $1.25 million per year to $5 million for the next three years.

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

UNRWA 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 helping refugees from specific region or conflict and is separate from UNHCR.

Establishment: It was established December 1949 following 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict by UN General Assembly Resolution 302 (IV).

Mandate: UNRWA has contributed to the welfare and human development of four generations 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. 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.

Region of operation: It provides aid in five areas of operation: Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip and West Bank, including East Jerusalem; and aid for Palestinian refugees outside these five areas is provided by UNHCR. It serves about 5.3 million refugees scattered around Middle East.

Funding: It is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions from UN member states. It also receives some funding from regular budget of UN, which is used mostly for international staffing costs.