Who We Are

the ‘Dignity for All’ campaign in Lebanon


UNRWA launches the ‘Dignity for All’ campaign in Lebanon to raise awareness of the challenges faced by Palestine refugees in the country, where they lack social and civil rights, have limited access to public services and are banned from several professions; 66 per cent live below the poverty line, and 11 per cent, the highest of any UNRWA field, receive assistance from the UNRWA social safety net. Through talks in Lebanese schools and universities, documentary screenings and camp visits, UNRWA aims to increase communication between young Lebanese and Palestinians in order to begin reversing stereotypes and challenge discrimination.




Nearly all registered refugee children – 99.6 per cent of those aged 12 months and 18 months – receive all required immunizations. Vaccination coverage for registered refugee children has been close to 100 per cent for more than a decade.

armed conflict in Syria

armed conflict in Syria

March 2011

Popular demonstrations spark what will become an ongoing armed conflict in Syria, affecting the country’s 529,000 registered Palestine refugees; by August 2013, over half of them are displaced, and many, including eight UNRWA employees, have lost their lives. UNRWA continues to offer regular and emergency services, and, in September 2012, launches its Syria Regional Crisis Response Plan to meet the urgent needs of Palestine refugees affected by the armed conflict, providing shelter, accommodation, cash assistance, food and emergency care to those within Syria and those who flee to Lebanon, Jordan and Gaza.

An eight-day conflict

An eight-day conflict

14th November 2012

Eight days of violence witness rocket fire from the Gaza Strip on civilian populations in Israel and relentless Israeli shelling of Gaza. The Israel Defense Forces estimate that 900 Palestinians are injured, and OHCHR later reports a total of 174 Palestinian deaths, at least 168 due to Israeli military action; 101 are believed to be civilians. A total of 239 Israelis, including 219 civilians, are reported injured; 6 are reported killed, including 4 civilians.

UNRWA Regional Youth Ambassador

UNRWA Regional Youth Ambassador

June 2013

Arab Idol winner Mohammed Assaf, a Palestine refugee from the Gaza Strip, is named the first UNRWA Regional Youth Ambassador for Palestine Refugees, helping to support and enhance the Agency’s outreach to and relationship with the young people, between 15 and 30, who make up nearly 42 per cent of the Palestine refugees UNRWA serves.


We provide assistance and protection for some 5 million registered Palestine refugees to help them achieve their full potential in human development.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions from UN Member States. UNRWA also receives some funding from the Regular Budget of the United Nations, which is used mostly for international staffing costs.

The Agency’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance, including in times of armed conflict.


Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict, UNRWA was established by United Nations General Assembly resolution 302 (IV) of 8 December 1949 to carry out direct relief and works programmes for Palestine refugees. The Agency began operations on 1 May 1950.

In the absence of a solution to the Palestine refugee problem, the General Assembly has repeatedly renewed UNRWA's mandate, most recently extending it until 30 June 2017.

> Read the UN Resolution

Palestine refugees

UNRWA is unique in terms of its long-standing commitment to one group of refugees. It has contributed to the welfare and human development of four generations of Palestine refugees, defined as “persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.” The descendants of Palestine refugee males, including legally adopted children, are also eligible for registration. 

UNRWA services are available to all those living in its areas of operations who meet this definition, who are registered with the Agency and who need assistance. When the Agency began operations in 1950, it was responding to the needs of about 750,000 Palestine refugees. Today, some 5 million Palestine refugees are eligible for UNRWA services.

> More on Palestine refugees

Human Development Goals
The United Nations describes human development in the following terms...
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon administered the oath of office to Pierre Krähenbühl, new Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), 20 April 2015. The Secretary-General (left) with Mr. Krähenbühl after the swearing in. UN Photo/Mark Garten
Pierre Krähenbühl has served as UNRWA Commissioner-General since...
Organizational Structure
UNRWA is one of the largest United Nations programmes, with over 30,...
UNRWA Advisory Commission Meeting, June 2014. © 2014 UNRWA Photo by Alaa Ghoseh
The Advisory Commission was created by UN Resolution 302 (IV) on 8...
Reforming UNRWA
In 2007, UNRWA began a comprehensive reform programme to strengthen...
UNRWA Advisory Commission Meeting, June 2014. © 2014 UNRWA Photo by Alaa Ghoseh
This section deals with general queries about UNRWA. For the Agency’s...

Gaza Emergency Donate Message 4