Who We Are

The Second Intifada

The Second Intifada

September 2000

A wave of protests and violence leads to what will become known as the second intifada; violence continues for several years, with large numbers of deaths and injuries. In response, UNRWA launches an extensive programme of emergency assistance, including mobile health teams, for Palestine...

psychological counselling and support

psychological counselling and support

2001

UNRWA establishes a unique programme of psychological counselling and support to address the challenges faced by Palestine refugees in the oPt. In 2002, the Community Mental Health Programme (CMHP) is established in Gaza to empower vulnerable refugees, especially children. In 2007, UNRWA...

human rights programme

human rights programme

2002

UNRWA schools integrate human rights into the teaching of Arabic, Islamic studies and social science as part of the Agency’s effort to promote non-violence, healthy communication skills and conflict resolution. In June 2012, the Agency adopts its policy on Education for Human Rights, Conflict...

the West Bank Barrier

the West Bank Barrier

June 2002

After two years of continuing violence on both sides, Israel begins construction of the West Bank Barrier - comprising concrete walls, fences, ditches, razor wire, groomed sand paths, an electronic monitoring system, patrol roads and a buffer zone - along and within the West Bank. In 2004, the...

independent national associations

2005

Two independent national associations that work to increase awareness of Palestine refugees and raise funds to support UNRWA are established, in Spain and the United States. A third national association is established in Italy in 2012.

 Infrastructure and Camp Improvement

Infrastructure and Camp Improvement

2005

UNRWA establishes its Infrastructure and Camp Improvement Programme to address deteriorating living conditions in the Palestine refugee camps. The programme focuses on improving the physical and social environment of the camps through a community-driven planning approach that includes refugees...

Israel withdraws from Gaza

Israel withdraws from Gaza

August 2005

Israel unilaterally withdraws from the Gaza Strip. In January 2006, elections are held for the Palestinian Legislative Council, and Hamas comes to power. The next several years are marked by increasing tensions and violence, including rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, Israeli attacks on Gaza...

infant mortality rate

infant mortality rate

2006

UNRWA reduces the average infant mortality rate across its areas of operations to 2.2 per cent, surpassing the World Health Organization (WHO) standard for middle-income countries.

Fighting breaks out in Nahr el-Bared

Fighting breaks out in Nahr el-Bared

20th May 2007

Fighting breaks out in Nahr el-Bared, a Palestine refugee camp near Tripoli, between the Lebanese Armed Forces and Fatah al-Islam, a militant organization; much of the camp is destroyed. UNRWA begins reconstruction work in 2009. With an estimated cost of US$ 345 million, the effort to rebuild...

 land blockade on the Gaza Strip

land blockade on the Gaza Strip

June 2007

Israel imposes a land blockade on the Gaza Strip. In January 2009, a naval blockade is added. In June 2010, Israel announces a package of measures to ease the blockade by lifting some import restrictions and approving a number of projects funded by international agencies, including UNRWA....

the “most destructive assault”

the “most destructive assault”

27th December 2008

Israel launches a large-scale military operation in the Gaza Strip, which lasts until 18 January 2009 and is described as the “most destructive assault” in the history of the oPt. A fact-finding mission of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reports that 1,387 Palestinians are...

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We provide assistance and protection for some 5 million registered Palestine refugees to help them achieve their full potential in human development.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions from UN Member States. UNRWA also receives some funding from the Regular Budget of the United Nations, which is used mostly for international staffing costs.

The Agency’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance, including in times of armed conflict.

Establishment

Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict, UNRWA was established by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 302 (IV) of 8 December 1949 to carry out direct relief and works programmes for Palestine refugees. The Agency began operations on 1 May 1950.

In the absence of a solution to the Palestine refugee problem, the General Assembly has repeatedly renewed UNRWA's mandate, most recently extending it until 30 June 2020.

Palestine refugees

UNRWA is unique in terms of its long-standing commitment to one group of refugees. It has contributed to the welfare and human development of four generations of Palestine refugees, defined as “persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.” The descendants of Palestine refugee males, including legally adopted children, are also eligible for registration. 

UNRWA services are available to all those living in its areas of operations who meet this definition, who are registered with the Agency and who need assistance. When the Agency began operations in 1950, it was responding to the needs of about 750,000 Palestine refugees. Today, some 5 million Palestine refugees are eligible for UNRWA services.

Read more about Palestine Refugees

Human Development Goals
The United Nations describes human development in the following terms...
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon administered the oath of office to Pierre Krähenbühl, new Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), 20 April 2015. The Secretary-General (left) with Mr. Krähenbühl after the swearing in. UN Photo/Mark Garten
Pierre Krähenbühl has served as UNRWA Commissioner-General since...
How We Are Funded
UNRWA benefits from the generous support of UN Member States, the...
How We Spend Funds
Operating within a resource-constrained environment, and reliant on...
Reforming UNRWA
In 2007, UNRWA began a comprehensive reform programme to strengthen...
UNRWA Advisory Commission Meeting, June 2014. © 2014 UNRWA Photo by Alaa Ghoseh
The Advisory Commission was created by UN Resolution 302 (IV) on 8...
Organizational Structure
UNRWA is one of the largest United Nations programmes, with over 30,...
Frequently asked questions
This section deals with general queries about UNRWA. For the Agency’s...
UNRWA launched the #DignityIsPriceless campaign in Gaza on 22 January 2018. © 2018 UNRWA Photo Rushdi Al Saraj
Join the #DignityIsPriceless campaign to stand up #ForPalestineRefugees