UNRWA to Arab donors: Your historic solidarity now more needed than ever

08 March 2023
UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini addresses the League of Arab States in Cairo. © 2023 UNRWA Photo


The Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Philippe Lazzarini concluded an official visit to Cairo on 7-8 March to meet with Egyptian and Arab League officials and renewed his call to support the Agency.

In his address at the opening session of the 159th meeting of the Council of Arab Foreign Ministers at the League of Arab States, where he reiterated that the rights and well-being of Palestine refugees were a collective responsibility, until there is a fair and lasting solution to their plight. He called on member states, especially those with a long tradition of solidarity and support to Palestine refugees, to continue doing so through the Agency's education, health and other critical services across the region.

During the visit to Cairo, the Commissioner-General met with the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, H.E. Mr. Ahmed Aboul Gheit, with the Head of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service Major General Abbas Kamel, and with the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Mr. Sameh Shoukry. In all these discussions, the Commissioner-General reaffirmed the pivotal role of the Egyptian and Arab support for Palestine refugees and UNRWA, as the Agency grapples with some of its biggest political and financial challenges of all times.

The Commissioner-General described the growing tensions in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and referenced the shattering impact of the recent earthquake on people in Syria, including Palestine refugees. "UNRWA is seeking a renewed commitment of member-states of the Arab League to the human development of the Palestine refugee communities. This is a cornerstone of regional stability, and a continuationof the generosity and solidarity that the Arab region is known for. Together we need to bring in knowledge, resources and creative energy to the Palestine refugee communities in the region. Together, we must continue to keep hope alive." 

On the sidelines of the session at the League, the Commissioner-General met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Kuwait, H.E. Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Deputy Minister for Multilateral International Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, H.E. Dr. Abdul Rahman Al-Rasi, State Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, H.E. Mr. Khalifa Shaheen Al-Marar, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Iraq, H.E. Mr. Fouad Hussein to thank them for their unwavering support for UNRWA and to discuss ways of cooperation between the Agency and Arab countries to mobilize political and financial support for the cause of Palestine refugees.

“Longstanding Arab generosity has often transcended political differences and has contributed to one of the most successful human development stories of the region," said the Commissioner-General. "I truly hope this will remain to be the case this year and beyond, until there is a political solution that includes the end to the plight of Palestine refugees.”


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Background Information: 

UNRWA is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. The United Nations General Assembly established UNRWA in 1949 with a mandate to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to registered Palestine refugees in the Agency’s area of operations pending a just and lasting solution to their plight.

UNRWA operates in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, The Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. 

Tens of thousands of Palestine refugees who lost their homes and livelihoods due to the 1948 conflict continue to be displaced and in need of support, nearly 75 years on.

UNRWA helps Palestine Refugees achieve their full potential in human development through quality services it provides in education, health care, relief and social services, protection, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance, and emergency assistance. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions.


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