Notes and Working Papers

Urgent Momoradnom to Foreign Diplomatic Missions in Lebanon,
31/07/2015

Your Excellencies,

Foreign Diplomatic Missions in Lebanon,

Urgent Appeal

UNRWA, the UN Agency for Relief and Works Agency, has lately started to reduce the level of services provided for Palestinian refugees in its five areas of operation.This includes cancelling shelter aid provided to Palestinian refugees displaced from Syria and will be followed by halting clothes and food aid by the end of September. A decision is being mulled which might impact the education sector where UNRWA General-Commissioner, Mr. Pierre Krenpol, has announced that harsh steps might be taken at UNRWA schools thus affecting 35,000 Palestinian students during the academic year 2015-2016.Mr. Krenpol has also declared that UNRWA might be obliged to close all UNRWA schools and reduce services in other sectors, including health and relief,due to a financial deficit estimated at $101 million.

This fact is extremely dangerous as it threatens about 43,000 Palestinians displaced from Syria, who have become homeless and without relief assistance as they have to suffer harsh humanitarian conditions. It also threatens basic services for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon including health and aid services.

The responsibility of financing UNRWA to continue its role towards the refugees rests basically on the international community and the United Nations in addition to the countries hosting refugees.

By failing to provide UNRWA with financial support necessary to cover essential services for Palestinian refugees, the international community might be changing refugees into time bombs that would reflect negatively on world peace and security.

We, at the Palestinian Association for Human Rights "Witness," address you to intervene urgently to support the following:

1.      Serious efforts are needed to safeguard sources of funding to meet the urgent deficit in the UNRWA budget.

2.      UNRWA is responsible for the relief of Palestine Refugees as well as for seeking sources of funding and launching relevant urgent appeals.

3.      The international community should shoulder its responsibilities towards refugees either by opening the borders for them to return to their homeland, or by providing financial support for UNRWA to provide a full range of services for refugees until their case is resolved.

4.      Host countries should exercise pressure on the international community to continue its financial support for UNRWA in order to avoid the negative repercussions of their human and social conditions on the countries hosting them.

Beirut,31/07/2015

The Palestinian Association for Human Rights

 "Witness"