Who We Are

the ‘Dignity for All’ campaign in Lebanon

2011

UNRWA launches the ‘Dignity for All’ campaign in Lebanon to raise awareness of the challenges faced by Palestine refugees in the country, where they lack social and civil rights, have limited access to public services and are banned from several professions; 66 per cent live below the poverty...

immunizations

immunizations

2011

Nearly all registered refugee children – 99.6 per cent of those aged 12 months and 18 months – receive all required immunizations. Vaccination coverage for registered refugee children has been close to 100 per cent for more than a decade.

armed conflict in Syria

Armed conflict in Syria

March 2011

Popular demonstrations in March 2011 sparked what has become an on-going armed conflict in Syria, affecting the 560,000 registered Palestine refugees, out of which over 60 per cent have been displaced either internally, or outside of the country. As of August 2016, thousands of Palestine...

An eight-day conflict

An eight-day conflict

14th November 2012

Eight days of violence witness rocket fire from the Gaza Strip on civilian populations in Israel and relentless Israeli shelling of Gaza. The Israel Defense Forces estimate that 900 Palestinians are injured, and OHCHR later reports a total of 174 Palestinian deaths, at least 168 due to Israeli...

UNRWA Regional Youth Ambassador

UNRWA Regional Youth Ambassador

June 2013

Arab Idol winner Mohammed Assaf, a Palestine refugee from the Gaza Strip, is named the first UNRWA Regional Youth Ambassador for Palestine Refugees, helping to support and enhance the Agency’s outreach to and relationship with the young people, between 15 and 30, who make up nearly 42 per cent...

© 2014 UNRWA Photo by Shareef Sarhan

2014 Gaza conflict

8th July 2014

The scale of human loss, destruction, devastation and displacement caused by the 2014 conflict in Gaza – the third within seven years – was catastrophic, unprecedented and unparalleled in Gaza, since at least the start of the Israeli occupation in 1967 and further eroded whatever resilience the...

© UNRWA Photo

Protection Division

January 2016

In recent years, UNRWA has significantly strengthened its protection response in view of the increasing protection challenges faced by Palestine refugees across the region. Since 2015, there are, for the first time in the Agency’s history, dedicated protection teams working on protection in all...

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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