This Ongoing War..
04 June '15..
The European Union's Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, Christos Stylianides, made a heart-rending call in New York City on Tuesday (echoed in this EU media release press release) for:
donors to increase their efforts to mobilise extra funds to support UNRWA – the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees. Speaking at a 65th anniversary event in New York, he paid tribute to UNRWA, pointing out that the EU remained its largest donor [having] provided over €1.6 billion... mainly aiming to sustain the delivery of essential public services to the refugees... "Despite this substantial support, we know that EU contributions alone are not enough to meet the increasing needs of the Agency"... Additional funds were essential, he said: "This will allow Palestinian refugees to continue benefiting from basic services. And to have a perspective for human development."
As sixty-five year olds go, UNRWA shows no real signs of slowing down. That's noteworthy when we remind ourselves that its supposed purpose in life, as expressed in UN Resolution A/RES/302 (IV) of December 8, 1949, is
relief of the Palestine refugees... to prevent conditions of starvation and distress among them and to further conditions of peace and stability, and that constructive measures should be undertaken at an early date with a view to the termination of international assistance for relief...
Termination is, 65 years later, nowhere in sight. UNRWA today is the UN's single largest agency. It employs a staff of more than 30,000, of whom 99% are locally recruited Palestinians [Wikipedia].
It's not the United Nations' only refugee agency, as most people know. By far the more significant one is the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, a body which merely deals with all the world's refugees. By contrast, UNRWA supports one class of refugees only:
Palestine refugees... defined as “persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict
Amazing really. If you had lived there for two years, you were entitled to UNRWA support, and so are your children, and their great-great-great grandchildren. The UN defined Palestine refugee status to be something you inherited... forever. And that's just one of a long list of criticisms that
But our focus in this post is money.
(Read Full Post)