EU Commissioner meets Palestine refugees in Lebanon
6 March 2013
The EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle visited yesterday UNRWA’s Lebanon Field Office, where he met with beneficiaries of the shelter rehabilitation programme funded by the EU under the Instrument for Stability (IfS) tool. He also announced a new donation of EUR 5 million to support Palestine refugees in Lebanon.
In his meeting with the beneficiaries, Commissioner Füle listened to stories about ways that the rehabilitation affected their families’ lives and health conditions and reassured them that the EU remains committed to supporting UNRWA and Palestine refugees in Lebanon.
He also met with two Palestine refugee families from Syria who discussed their suffering and the difficult conditions that they live under in Lebanon. Explaining that the cost of living in Lebanon is much higher than in Syria, they asked him for additional support for housing and accommodation. Commissioner Füle reiterated the EU’s support for refugees in general and to the Palestine refugees from Syria in particular, and promised to convey their messages to the upcoming meeting of the EU Member States ministers of foreign affairs next week.
Commissioner Füle was accompanied by Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon Angelina Eichorst. The Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon Ann Dismorr participated in the meeting as well as the President of the Lebanese Palestinian Dialogue Committee Khaldoun AL-Sharif.
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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