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UNRWA Commissioner-General Urges Arab States to Re-Prioritize Issue of Palestine Refugees
Addressing the opening session of the 160th Session of the League of Arab States Council at the Ministerial level, UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini urged Arab states to put the issue of Palestine Refugees back on top of their political agendas.
He concluded an official visit to Cairo on 5-6 September, during which he engaged in high-level discussions with Egyptian and Arab League officials, aiming to strengthen the partnership and garner support for Palestine Refugees, amid the Agency’s unprecedented financial crisis.
In his address he highlighted the alarming developments exacerbating the tenuous situation millions of Palestine Refugees continue to live through every day, some 75 years after their initial displacement, saying: “I urge you to put the issue of Palestine Refugees back to the top of your political agendas. UNRWA and Palestine Refugees need Arab States to be at the forefront of a transformation from the status quo that has run its course to a new direction, a direction where Palestine Refugees have a tangible reason to hope for a long-term solution.”
He also stressed the urgency of the financial crisis faced by UNRWA, emphasizing the need for between US$170 - 190 million to sustain core services until the end of the year. He emphasized the importance of constructive dialogue to address the rights of Palestine Refugees and underscored the need for UNRWA to adapt in response to the financial gap, which is the largest in its history.
“You are also our allies in our efforts to raise funds and ensure that global solidarity with Palestine Refugees remains strong. I say this as Palestine Refugees have waited 75 years for a political solution,” said the Commissioner-General. “They have always relied on the Arab world for solidarity. They have no closer ally, no better partner.”
Notes to Editors
· The Commissioner-General held meetings with key officials, including the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, H.E. Mr. Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the Egyptian Foreign Minister, H.E. Mr. Sameh Shoukry, and Palestinian Foreign Minister, H.E. Dr. Riad al Maliki, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain, H.E. Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Alzayani, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Kuwait, H.E. Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and the Vice Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, H.E. Eng. Waleed Al-Khuraiji.
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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