The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) in London warned of the long-term repercussions of the funding shortage faced by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), stressing that the Agency’s mission is irreplaceable.
This came in an oral statement delivered by PRC’s speaker Ali Huweidi as part of agenda item 3 of the “ID with IE on International Solidarity” session of the UN Human Rights Council.
PRC also submitted a written statement on the issue to the Council under code reference A/HRC/50/NGO/115 entitled: Transferring UNRWA Responsibilities Undermines Regional Stability.
“Despite the chronic funding crisis, UNRWA continues to provide vital services to Palestinian refugees”, said Huweidi.
PRC voiced concern about the implications of a letter to the Palestinian refugees dated 23rd of April 2022, in which UNRWA Commissioner-General Philip Lazzarini suggested “referring services provided by UNRWA to other UN organizations on behalf of and under the supervision of UNRWA.”
“What was stated in the Commissioner-General's proposal means the gradual dependence of UNRWA on the assistance provided by international organizations and not by the member states of the UN; And here lies the danger”, said PRC’s speaker. “The financial contributions of the UN Member States to the UNRWA budget exceed its humanitarian meaning despite its importance. It is practically an expression of international political responsibility towards the Palestinian refugee issue exclusively.”
“The role of the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, in coordination with the UNGA, UNRWA Advisory Committee, refugee-hosting countries and NGOs, is to search all possible ways that would obtain the funds required to cover the needs of more than 6 million registered Palestinian refugees”, he added.
PRC said the time has come to solve the chronic financial crisis of UNRWA under the supervision of the UNGA, taking into account the growing numbers and needs of the Palestinian refugees.
Watch the statement here: