UNRWA was established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.6 million registered Palestine refugees. (AFP photo)
The Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has announced a three-year package of support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), under which Ireland will contribute €6 million per year to the Agency between 2021 and 2023.
“Ireland is a longstanding supporter of UNRWA’s work in providing services to Palestine refugees. I’m delighted to have agreed a three year package of support which will help to give the agency a degree of financial certainty during an extremely difficult period,” Minister Coveney said.
He added, “the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on an already vulnerable refugee population. UNRWA's services provide a vital lifeline to communities enduring overcrowded living conditions, physical and mental stress, socio-economic hardship and food insecurity."
In the meantime, Irish Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora Colm Brophy said the new funding package "will support UNRWA to meet the basic and emergency needs of Palestine refugees, whilst mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic."
Brophy commended the vital work undertaken by the Agency across its five fields of operation, particularly at this unprecedented time.
The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs said support to the Palestinian people reflects the government's longstanding commitment to justice for the Palestinian people and to the development of a viable, sovereign Palestinian state alongside Israel.
"Ireland’s support will be used by UNRWA to address the humanitarian and development needs of refugees across UNRWA’s fields of operation in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip," said the Irish Foreign Department in a statement.