Portugal contributes with 400,000 USD to UNRWA for Emergency Relief in Gaza

14 January 2009

January 2009

Representative Office of Portugal, Ramallah

The Portuguese Government reiterates its deep concern with the humanitarian situation in Gaza, appealing to the establishment of an immediate cease-fire and to the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, as per UNSCR 1860.

The Portuguese Government encourages once more Israel to guarantee the necessary security conditions to allow the regular distribution of humanitarian aid, including medical treatment of victims and affected population.

Talking into account the utter seriousness of the situation, the Portuguese Government has decided to make an extraordinary financial contribution of 400,000 dollars to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in reaction to this Agency’s emergency appeal.

Portugal considers that there is no military solution for the conflict, reaffirms its support to the diplomatic efforts under way and alerts to increasing risks of radicalization were hostilities to continue.

Furthermore it reiterates the need for returning to the path of negotiations with the goals of creating an independent, viable and democratic Palestinian State to live side by side, in peace and security, with Israel and its other neighbours.

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.

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