The UN has said it regretted the decision of the U.S. to stop funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
In a statement issued in New York by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, the UN called on other countries to fill the financial gap by stepping up assistance for Palestine refugees.
“We regret the United States’ decision to provide no further funding to UNRWA, which provides essential services to Palestine refugees and contributes to stability in the region.
“The secretary-general calls on other countries to help fill the remaining financial gap so that UNRWA can continue to provide this vital assistance as well as a sense of hope to this vulnerable population,” it said.
The UN noted that the U.S. had traditionally been the largest single contributor to UNRWA and that the UN appreciated the U.S. support over the years.
The UN spokesperson added that UNRWA enjoyed the full confidence of the secretary-general and that the agency’s Head, Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl, had led a rapid, innovative and tireless effort to overcome the unexpected financial crisis it faced in 2018.
“The agency had expanded the donor base, raised considerable new funding and explored new avenues of support,’’ the UN said, noting also that UNRWA took extraordinary internal management measures to increase efficiencies and reduce costs.
“UNRWA has a strong record of providing high-quality education, health and other essential services, often in extremely difficult circumstances, to Palestine refugees who are in great need.’’
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that UNRWA was established by the UN General Assembly in 1949 to provide assistance and protection to a population of some five million registered Palestine refugees in various countries throughout the Middle East.
Its services include education, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, healthcare and emergency assistance.