(24 Sep 2009)
UNRWA, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, is marking its 60th anniversary in 2009. This video showcases the Agency's achievements - and the challenges it has faced, over these six decades.
At a ministerial-level event at UN headquarters on 24 September governments paid tribute to six decades of service to the world's largest and longest standing refugee population.
The UN estimates that the 1948 Arab-Israeli war drove over 700,000 Palestinians from their homes. As a wave of destitute people flooded the Middle East, in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, the international community mandated UNRWA in 1949 to provide aid to the growing refugee population living in camps across the region.
UNRWA's assistance to Palestinian refugees has continued to the present day. The Agency has become the main provider of basic services education, health, relief and social services to over 4.6 million registered Palestine refugees in the Middle East.
UNRWA has published a commemorative book in which nearly one hundred statesmen and women pay tribute to its work. The US Secretary of State, Hilary Rodham Clinton, gives her support to the Agency, which has been confronting difficult and challenging circumstances, working tirelessly to ensure the dignity and human development of those they serve.
Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan says, We owe so much to UNRWA. Their selflessness and perseverance in the face of indescribable adversity have kept Palestine refugees alive for sixty years: healing their wounds, sustaining their bodies, nourishing their minds and giving them hope in their darkest hours.