(From left) Representative of India to State of Palestine Sunil Kumar and Sami Mshasha, Officer-in-Charge of the Department of External Relations and Communication and Director of Communication of UNRWA. (File photo via UNRWA)
This week, the Government of India contributed US$ 2 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), in support of the Agency’s programmes and services, including education, health care, relief and social services for Palestine refugees.
UNRWA said in a press release dating December 10 that the contribution was presented to UNRWA by Representative of India to State of Palestine Sunil Kumar. With this contribution, India provided the total of US$ 5 million to the Agency in 2020.
Reiterating the Government of India's continued support for UNRWA services, Representative of India Sunil Kumar stated: “On behalf of the Government of India, I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the remarkable efforts carried out by UNRWA. India shall continue supporting the Agency’s activities in providing vital services and necessary humanitarian aid to Palestinian refugees.”
Tamara Alrifai, Acting Director of Department of External Relations of UNRWA, said: “This generous contribution in support of Palestine refugees at this critical moment is very much appreciated. On behalf of UNRWA, I would like to thank the Government of India for its continued funding to the Agency and its backing of Palestine refugees across the Middle East.”
During the Extraordinary Virtual Ministerial Pledging Conference for UNRWA held on 23 June 2020, Hononurable Minister of State for External Affairs, Muraleedharan announced that India will contribute US$ 10 million to UNRWA over the next two years in 2021 and 2022.
It is worth noting that India has increased its annual financial contribution to UNRWA from US$ 1.25 million in 2017 to US$ 5 million in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
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 is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.7 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.