FM stresses need to maintain providing UNRWA services

Saturday, 13 Jan, 2018

Human Rights Watch criticized the U.S. administration's decision to stop USA aid to United Nations for Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) describing that as blackmailing Palestinians for the food and education of refugee children.

Moscow attaches particular importance to the UNRWA's role and highly praises the agency's contribution to alleviating the suffering of Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. It would deny their parents the only social safety net that helps them to survive under occupation, or in displacement.

He added: "Cutting much-needed aid to refugees because Palestinian leaders have positions the USA disagrees with is outrageous".

"Other humanitarian organisations simply do not have the capacity to pick up the pieces if this decision goes through". Cutting UNRWA funding would undo years of work with a generation living under constant siege and recurring conflict.

Washington's threat to cut aid to UNRWA for "political purposes" could push Palestinians further into poverty, warned the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

"My concern is that as we talk about regional stability, withdrawing funding for UNRWA would be very negative, both in terms of humanitarian needs of over five million people but also of course it would be destabilizing for the region", Skoog told reporters at United Nations headquarters.

As of December 2016, the USA ranked as the top contributor to UNRWA, providing $364 million - over 40 percent of the agency's total budget - figures provided by UNRWA revealed.

Hanoun said in a radio interview on Monday that the UN Secretary-General would also be asked that the UN assumes responsibility for the financial deficit resulting from the U.S. decision, noting that there was a financial crisis in the agency before Trump's threat to stop United States financial contribution.

"UNRWA exclusively takes its mandate from the UN General Assembly and will continue working under it until solving Palestinian refugees' issue through all parties in a just and lasting way", Abu Hasna added. "We call on the USA authorities to not follow through with this threat, which would tarnish its reputation and undermine its role as a humanitarian donor".