German Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, Annalena Baerbock, with UNRWA students during her visit to Talbieh refugee camp in Jordan on 11 February 2022. (UNRWA Photo by Shafiq Fahed)
The German Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, Annalena Baerbock, visited on Monday Talbieh camp for Palestine refugees in Jordan and witnessed first-hand the vital services provided by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
Minister Baerbock was accompanied by the Ambassador of Germany to Jordan, Bernhard Kampmann, UNRWA Chief of Staff, Ben Majekodunmi, Acting Director of External Relations, Tamara Alrifai and Deputy Director of UNRWA Affairs in Jordan, Olaf Becker.
Members of the UNRWA Talbieh Girls’ School student parliament described the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their access to education during the last two years. They highlighted the immense psychological effects of the loss of learning and feeling that they may be left behind.
“I met young and articulate UNRWA students who spoke about their aspirations. These closely mirror what many young people in Germany aspire to: learning opportunities, the need for more green spaces and environmentally-friendly surroundings. Germany’s support to UNRWA stems from our strong belief in human rights for everyone, and that includes the right to quality education and to a healthy and dignified life for Palestine refugees,” said Federal Minister Baerbock.
In her interaction with residents of Talbieh camp, Baerbock saw the participatory way in which the Palestine refugees rehabilitated their shelters with funds from the German Government. Camp residents described how greening their surroundings, improving solid waste management, rehabilitating damaged shelters and utilizing green energy was a priority for them and for UNRWA.
“We are immensely grateful for Germany’s long-standing and continuing support for UNRWA and the rights of Palestine refugees. Germany’s strong engagement for the Agency’s integrated development and humanitarian support on behalf of Palestinians is precisely the kind of holistic engagement that UNRWA needs”, said UNRWA Chief of Staff, Ben Majekodunmi.
In 2021, Germany was the second largest donor to UNRWA, with contributions totaling EUR 150 million, which supported the Agency’s regular activities, critical infrastructure and management projects, as well as the UNRWA Emergency Appeal.