UN should allocate a larger contribution to UNRWA from its budget, says Palestine’s Permanent Observer
Relying solely on voluntary contributions for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) basic services is not sustainable and the United Nations should allocate a larger contribution from its budget considering that UNRAW is a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly, said Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine at the UN.
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He stressed that the absence of justice has kept the issue of Palestine refugees on the agenda of the United Nations for decades, calling on the international community to act seriously and concretely in implementing the relevant UN resolutions, including Resolution 194 on the return of refugees to their homeland they were expelled from when Israel was created in 1948 in order to achieve a just and peaceful solution to the question of Palestine.
While thanking the countries that renewed their solidarity with Palestine refugees and for their rights, including the right of return, Mansour pointed out that the continuous injustice over the 75 years since the beginning of the Nakba in 1948 is the reason for UNRWA's continued existence.
He stressed the importance of continued funding for UNRWA to continue to provide crucial humanitarian and development assistance to Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.
He noted that the agency not only provides education to millions of children, as well as health care, relief and social services for the most vulnerable groups, it also provided, over the past decades, job opportunities, decent living, and hope, stressing that UNRWA remains one of the most important humanitarian, developmental and human security undertakings of the international community.
Delegates from 53 countries spoke during the conference, with the vast majority of them expressing solidarity with the Palestine refugees, and their concern about their plight and continuing hardships.
The speakers called for meeting the needs of the refugees and securing their rights, and for respecting their right to return in accordance with General Assembly Resolution 194. They also renewed their support for the mandate of UNRWA and its services provided to about six million refugees registered with the Agency in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, expressing their concern in view of the financial shortage that UNRWA suffers from.
UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini, in his address at the conference, sounded the alarm about the Agency’s deepening funding crisis, saying the pledges announced at this year’s Pledging Conference for UNRWA are not sufficient to cover the agency’s financial requirements from September onward.