SOLIDAR Secretary General Conny Reuter met on Thursday 18th January with the Director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) representative office to the European Union, Matthias Burchard, to discuss the work and challenges that UNRWA is facing with regard to Palestinian refugees.
With the dramatic reduction of the US contribution for 2018 ($60 million against $350 million in 2017), UNRWA could face serious difficulties in upholding its mandate and preserving key services such as education and health care for Palestinian Refugees.
As expressed in a statement by UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl on 18 January:
“Funding UNRWA or any humanitarian agency is the discretion of any sovereign member state of the United Nations. At the same time, given the long, trusted, and historic relationship between the United States and UNRWA, this reduced contribution threatens one of the most successful and innovative human development endeavours in the Middle-East.”
“At stake is the access of 525,000 boys and girls in 700 UNRWA schools, and their future. At stake is the dignity and human security of millions of Palestine refugees, in need of emergency food assistance and other support in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank and Gaza Strip. At stake is the access of refugees to primary health care, including pre-natal care and other life-saving services. At stake are the rights and dignity of an entire community.”
“Let us draw our strength from the Palestine Refugees who teach us every day that giving up is not an option. UNRWA will not give up either. I ask you to stand with us.”
SOLIDAR stands in solidarity with Palestinian refugees and supports the work of UNRWA in enhancing the dignity and human security of many refugees in the Middle East. On Monday, UNRWA will be launching a global fundraising campaign to meet the large-scale commitment to keeping schools and clinics open throughout 2018 and beyond.