NEW YORK, MAY 13 – Through a 2021 voluntary contribution, Italy renewed its support to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) activities in education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and emergency assistance addressed to Palestinian refugees in the Middle East.
UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.7 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. The agency is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA programme budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall.
On top of this, on 11 and 12 May 2021 two UNRWA schools were hit within the context of airstrikes by Israel on Gaza, causing extensive damage to the compound’s western perimeter and to at least 29 classrooms. On 12 May 2021 the agency headquarters building in Gaza was hit, resulting in damages to the building’s perimeter wall. It is unclear whether the UNRWA building was hit directly or whether the strike was so close that the building suffered damage. All staff report to be safe and well.
Pursuant to international law, including the 1946 Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations, UNRWA premises, property and assets are inviolable. All UNRWA facilities are clearly marked with a UN flag. (@OnuItalia)