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UNRWA and ECHO: supporting Palestine refugees through protection programmes in the West Bank
Palestine refugees have been living under Israeli military occupation in the West Bank for more than 50 years. Refugees are exposed to a number of protection threats linked to the occupation, including the risk of injury and death, the demolition of their homes, displacement and restrictions on freedom of movement.
UNRWA has a mandate to protect refugees and to advance their rights. The European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) has supported UNRWA to deliver on its protection mandate in the West Bank since 2000. With ECHO’s support in UNRWA is able to provide assistance to Palestine refugees who have been displaced. UNRWAs Crisis Intervention Unit (CIU) provides assistance to displaced refugees to get back on their feet after this shock, providing them with access to shelter, psychological assistance and referrals to address their needs. In the past 10 months, UNRWA has assisted 85 refugee families (over 300 individuals) following their displacement from different locations throughout the West Bank including East Jerusalem.
Following a series of demolitions in September 2018, UNRWA provided assistance to several families whose homes had been demolished on their land, by the Israeli authorities in Al-Walajah village near Bethlehem. This photo essay focuses on some of these families. The people residing in Al-Walajah village are mostly Palestine refugees from lands located in the vicinity of the village now situated within the unilaterally declared boundaries of Israel.
Last year ECHO allocated €4.7 million to families living in Area C and East Jerusalem for emergency response to demolitions, legal assistance, and material assistance for essential services. ECHO also finances humanitarian programmes that benefit Palestinian refugees living in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. UNRWA and the European Union have maintained and strengthened a strategic partnership since 1971, based on human development, and the humanitarian and protection needs of Palestine refugees across the Middle East.
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