UN extends mandate for agency supporting Palestinian refugees


December 14, 2019
JFJFP
UNRWA's mandate overwhelmingly renewed for another three years, despite opposition by US and Israel.

UNRWA provides education, health and relief services as well as housing and microfinance assistance to more than five million registered refugees

Report in Al Jazeera:

The United Nations General Assembly has overwhelmingly renewed the mandate for a UN agency supporting Palestinian refugees for another three years amid misconduct allegations and a cash shortfall triggered by a halt in US funding.

The mandate of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) was extended on Friday until June 30, 2023, with 169 votes in favour and nine abstentions. The United States and Israel voted against.

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UNRWA, which as established in 1949, provides education, health and relief services as well as housing and microfinance assistance to more than five million registered refugees in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, the besieged Gaza Strip as well as in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

The agency has faced budgetary difficulties since last year, when the US – its biggest donor – halted its aid of $360m per year.

The Palestinian group Hamas, which administers the besieged Gaza Strip, hailed the UN vote as a defeat for the US and a failure of its attempts to pressure UN member-states against UNRWA.

“We welcome the decision to renew the international mandate to UNRWA and we see it as another failure to hostile US policies to the Palestinian rights,” Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters News Agency.

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