United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)

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Overview:

India recently announced that it has provided US $ 2.5 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East or the UNRWA for the welfare of Palestinian refugees.

About United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)

  • It is a UN agency that supports the relief and human development of Palestinian refugees.
  • Establishment:
    • Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, UNRWA was established by United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 302 (IV) of 8 December, 1949, to carry out direct relief and work programmes for Palestine refugees. 
    • The agency began operations on 1 May, 1950.
    • In the absence of a solution to the Palestine refugee problem, the UNGA Assembly has repeatedly renewed UNRWA's mandate, most recently extending it until 30 June, 2023.
  • It is one of the largest United Nations programmes, with a population of approximately 5 million registered Palestine refugees under its mandate and over 30,000 staff.
  • Fields of operations: It provides services in its five fields of operations: Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including the East of Jerusalem.
  • UNRWA is unique in that it delivers services directly to its beneficiaries.
  • Services provided: It encompasses education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance, and emergency assistance, including in times of armed conflict.
  • Funding:
    • It is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions from UN Member States.
    • It also receives some funding from the Regular Budget of the United Nations, which is used mostly for international staffing costs.
  • It reports only to the UNGA.
  • Headquarters: It was originally headquartered in Beirut, Lebanon, but was moved to Vienna, Austria, in 1978. In 1996, the General Assembly moved the agency to the Gaza Strip to demonstrate the Assembly’s commitment to the Arab-Israeli peace process.
  • Its chief officer, the commissioner-general, the only leader of a UN agency to report directly to the General Assembly, is appointed by the UN secretary-general with the approval of an Advisory Commission.

Q1) What is the Gaza Strip?

The Gaza Strip or simply Gaza, is a Palestinian enclave on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It borders Egypt on the southwest for 11 kilometers (6.8 mi) and Israel on the east and north along a 51 km (32 mi) border. The Gaza Strip and the West Bank are claimed by the de jure sovereign State of Palestine. The territories of Gaza and the West Bank are separated from each other by Israeli territory. Both fell under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority, but the Strip has, since the Battle of Gaza in June 2007, been governed by Hamas, a militant, Palestinian, fundamentalist Islamic organization, which came to power in the last-held elections in 2006.

Source: India Hands Over $ 2.5 Million to UNRWA For Palestinian Refugees