The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has passed the final vote to renew the mandate of the UN Palestine refugee agency for another three years, amid an ongoing probe into alleged mismanagement issues and strong opposition by the US and Israel.
The overwhelming vote to extend the mandate of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) until June 30, 2023, came on Friday, with 169 votes in favor and nine abstentions. The United States and Israel voted against.
Over the past couple of years, UNRWA has faced budgetary difficulties after the US - its largest donor - halted its aid of $360m per year.
UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl resigned Last month, amid an investigation into misconduct allegations. Krahenbuhl has denied wrongdoing and said his agency was the victim of a political campaign designed to undermine it.
Last month, UNGA’s Special Political and Decolonization Committee (Fourth Committee) voted to extend UNRWA mandate.
UNRWA was established 70 years ago and provides essential services to Palestine refugees based on a mandate given to it by the General Assembly which is renewed every three years. UNRWA is experiencing the worst financial deficit in its 70 year history and is seeking to overcome a financial gap of nearly US$ 89 million before the end of the year.
UNRWA provides a humanitarian lifeline to some 5.4 million registered Palestine refugees 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.