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UNRWA launches #DignityIsPriceless Global Campaign in Jordan in collaboration with Landmark Hotel
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), in collaboration with the Landmark Amman Hotel, launched last evening the #DignityIsPriceless Global Campaign in Jordan, which aims to mobilize support to protect the dignity and human security of millions of vulnerable Palestine refugees who have endured conflict and displacement for 70 years. The event brought together members of the public and private and civil society.
The Global Campaign was launched in Gaza on 22 January in response to unprecedented funding cuts which threaten to put at risk vital human development and humanitarian services to some 5.4 million Palestine refugees in the Middle East. By reaching out to traditional, non-traditional donors, as well private donors and the philanthropic sector, foundations and individuals, the campaign aims to raise US$ 500 million in support of UNRWA.
Speaking at the launch ceremony, the Director of UNRWA Operations in Jordan, Roger Davies, clarified the profound disruptions caused by the threatened decline in UNRWA services in Jordan: “At stake is access to basic education for 121,000 boys and girls at 171 schools; emergency food and cash assistance to about 60,000 extremely vulnerable Palestine refugees; access to primary health care for millions of refugees and dignity and human security for 2.3 million refugees in Jordan alone.”
Mr. Davies affirmed the vital role of the private sector in peace-building and sustainable development and confirmed the pivotal role of Jordanian government support to the Agency, calling on all stakeholders to join the #DignityIsPriceless Campaign. He said, “Today, the business community in Jordan is an essential partner in promoting the human development of Palestine refugees. The Landmark Amman Hotel is amongst the first leading companies that have taken the initiative towards supporting UNRWA as part and beyond the campaign.”
The founder and chairwoman of the Landmark Hotel, Ms. Mary Nazzal-Batayneh, in her speech urged the world to broaden the commitment and support to Palestine refugees, describing them as the “largest and longest standing refugee population in the world.” Ms. Nazzal-Batayneh commented on the necessity for private sector to pursue novel models of sustainable and economic empowerment for refugees.
In his speech, the Director General of the Department of Palestinian Affairs, HE Mr. Yaseen Abu Awwad, affirmed on the Jordanian Government interest in sustaining and developing the current cooperation with UNRWA, and supporting UNRWA in every possible way. Abu Awwad stressed on the key role of the donor community in maintaining UNRWA’s services, at the same time he warned from the consequences that could affect the hosting countries of any disruption of its services by saying: “the inability of UNRWA to provide its different services and maintain the environmental healthy situation in the Palestinian camps will affect the social and security stability in the refugees communities and the hosting countries, as well as the region as its international extends will not be far from those effects.”
The youngest speaker at the event, 15-year-old UNRWA student Bayan Kilani, encouraged the audience to support the campaign, describing what education means to her and her peers: “Whether you are a Palestinian of Jordanian, business owner or government official, I ask you, one human being to another, to support the campaign so that UNRWA services continue until the story of Palestine refugees finds a just solution
Addressing the audience, Mr. Mustafa Salameh the author of “Dreams of a Refugee”, described the role UNRWA played in his life, as he descends from a refugee family who lived in Wihdat camp, and one of three generations of Palestine refugee in his family. Mr. Salameh called on supporting UNRWA to enable “UNRWA students to continue their education and change the world into a better place for their generation”.
The ceremony was attended by diplomatic representatives from various countries, UN Agencies, community leaders, members of the public, private and civil society.
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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