India will contribute $5 million this year to the cash-strapped UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
Voicing his government’s concern over the UNRWA’s current financial status, India's Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador K. Nagaraj Naidu said New Delhi will increase its annual financial contribution to the UNRWA core budget four-fold, from $1.25 million to $5 million in 2019.
Naidu was addressing the UN General Assembly’s Ad Hoc Committee for Voluntary Contributions to the UNRWA.
Under its Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme, the Indian government also assists 150 Palestinian Authority (PA) professionals annually.
In the last five years, India and the Palestine Authority have had bilateral agreements in agriculture, healthcare, and youth affairs.
Refugees from the Palestine Authority have been defined as “persons whose normal place of residence was the Palestine Authority between 1 June 1946 and 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict”.
The UNRWA was established through UN General Assembly Resolution 302 (IV) of 8 December 1949 to carry out relief and works programmes for Palestine Authority refugees. It began operations on 1 May 1950.
UNRWA services are available to all those living in its area of operation, who meet this definition, are registered with the agency and need assistance.
The 1948 Arab-Israeli War, also known as the First Arab-Israeli War, was fought between the newly declared state of Israel and a military coalition of Arab states, for control of former British Palestine. This formed the basis for the second and final stage of the 1947–49 Palestine War.
When the UNRWA began operations in 1950, it catered to the needs of about 750,000 Palestine Authority refugees. Today that number has swelled to approximately five million.
Nearly a third of these registered Palestine Authority refugees (over 1.5 million) live in the 58 recognised Palestine refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and parts of East Jerusalem.
The UNRWA’s objective is to provide assistance and protection to these refugees, to enable them to achieve their full potential as human beings.
The UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions from member states of the United Nations. Some funding is also received from the UN budget to meet international staffing costs.
Its services encompass education, healthcare, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance, including in times of armed conflict.