UNRWA statement on the situation of Palestine Refugees in Lebanon

22 July 2019

In response to many inquiries received in recent days, UNRWA wishes to clarify the following:

UNRWA strongly supports any measure that allows Palestine Refugees to live in dignity in their host countries pending a just and durable solution to their plight in accordance with UN resolutions.

In Lebanon, the Agency is fully committed to working with the Lebanese authorities and Palestinian representatives to improve the living conditions of Palestine refugees. Of particular importance in this regard are measures facilitating the implementation of Palestine Refugees’ right to work, in line with the Unified Lebanese Vision for Palestinian Refugees Affairs in Lebanon which was included in the ministerial statement last March. Being able to work in dignity, within the law and protected by the law, is a fundamental human right and constitutes a contribution to the Lebanese economy and national stability. UNRWA urges the Lebanese authorities to take measures including those aimed at facilitating the issuance of work permits for Palestine Refugees, taking into account the specificity of their situation in the country. The Agency looks forward to this and other issues being resolved through dialogue and in a fair way.

UNRWA for its part remains fully committed to contribute to improving Palestine Refugee living conditions in Lebanon by providing education, health, social, infrastructure and other services according to its mandate as defined by the UN General Assembly. With generous donors’ funding, UNRWA in Lebanon employs directly about 3,000 Palestine Refugees and others are employed through a number of projects. In addition, UNRWA supports Palestine Refugees’ employment through its Technical and Vocational Education and Training Centre and through four Employment Service Centres which support the employability of Palestine Refugees. UNRWA’s Legal Aid programme also provides assistance in addressing employment issues under the labour law.

In addition, in recent months UNRWA has significantly increased its investment in maintenance works in all its installations and conducted cleaning campaigns in the refugee camps. Starting in August, the Agency will raise its contribution to the more than 61,000 Palestine Refugees living below the poverty line. Subject to funding, UNRWA is also planning additional initiatives to strengthen the quality of its education and health services, all part of its continuing engagement in improving Palestine Refugee living conditions in cooperation with the Lebanese and Palestinian authorities.

Background Information: 

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA programme budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s programme budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, 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 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.

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