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UAE doubles its annual contribution to UNRWA

posted on 09/12/2007: 662 views



New York - United Arab Emirates has announced that it will double its annual contribution from the current US$500,000 to US$1 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) from next year.

UAE's pledge came in a statement made by Faisal Ahmed Rashid Al Malik, member of the country's delegation to the 62nd session of the UN general assembly, at a special meeting organised by the UN General Secretariat at its headquarters in New York to collect voluntary contributions.

During the last few days, twenty-two international donors have pledged over US$160 million to support the main United Nations agency providing vital humanitarian aid to some 4.5 million Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.

Faisal conveyed UAE's gratitude to the Commissioner and the employees working with the Agency for their sincere effort to alleviate the sufferings of the Palestine refugees scattered around various countries, especially in the Near East.

At the same time, he reiterated UAE's uncompromising stance over the Palestine issue which calls for a permanent, just and comprehensive peace solution allowing the Palestinian people to return to their homeland and exercise their full rights. This solution also emphasises, as it is mentioned in UN resolution No.194, the right of Palestinians to claim the compensation for all the damages they have sustained since 1948 as they were forced to leave their homeland and live uprooted for several years; Faisal added.

Meanwhile, UNRWA Deputy Commission-General Filippo Grandi said that while many refugees had taken great strides towards self-reliance and personal success, deep pockets of entrenched deprivation among them remained to be tackled throughout the Agency's operational areas.

Also addressing an Ad Hoc committee meeting recently, General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim said the forthcoming Paris Conference would provide an important opportunity to help rebuild Palestinian institutions, boost economic growth and lay the foundations for a viable Palestinian State.

According to the UN's latest humanitarian fact sheet on Gaza, roughly 75 per cent of Gaza's population receives food aid. But while regular humanitarian aid is continuing, import restrictions have led to the suspension of more than USD 200 million worth of programming, including shelter and housing projects for 27,000 refugees and construction at three major hospitals.

The fact sheet also shows that the unemployment rate in Gaza has soared past 32 per cent. At the same time, food prices have shot up with the price of wheat flour, for example, having gone up by 46 per cent.

The latest figures underscore the vital work carried out by UNRWA, which is not only a humanitarian organization but also the main provider of essential public services to the Palestinian refugee population. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)

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