Palestinian refugees in the Arab Spring

04 November 2011

4 November 2011

Filippo Grandi, Commissioner-General of UNRWA, at the International Peace Institute in New York

Filippo Grandi told an IPI audience that the question of accommodating the wishes of the Palestinian refugees was “suffering a particular stagnation”, leaving them profoundly frustrated at their continuing plight six decades after the partition of the land they once inhabited.

“The refugee question tends to be pushed towards the end of the discussion,” Mr Grandi said of the talks over the ongoing impasse with Israel. “This adds to the frustration of people who have been waiting for a solution to their problem for so long.”

Background Information

UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions, and financial support has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, deepening poverty and conflict. As a result, the UNRWA General Fund, which supports core essential services and most staffing costs, operates with a large deficit. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large deficits, are funded through separate funding portals. 

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications
+972 (0)54 240 2659
+972 (0)2 589 0267
Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 216 8295
+972 (0)2 589 0724