Palestine Refugees Current Affairs - 2019
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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.
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.