Any attempts to undermine the mandate of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, known commonly by its acronym UNRWA, or change its original name will be resisted. That’s the claim of Zakaria Al-Agha, a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and Director of the Department of Refugee Affairs. The Agency came into being following UN General Assembly Resolution 302 in 1949.
Making his statement after a meeting with the Acting Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza, Chris Nordahl, Mr. Al-Agha said that the solution to UNRWA’s financial crisis “must not be at the expense of Palestinian refugees by reducing the services provided to them”. He hinted at threats and plots by some countries against UNRWA and Palestinian refugees.
“UNRWA is required to work towards improving the services that it provides to Palestinian refugees, not reducing them,” added Al-Agha. He called upon the donor countries to fulfil their financial obligations to UNRWA in order to meet the fiscal deficit in its budget amid fears of the inevitable deterioration in living conditions inside refugee camps if the financial crisis continues.
Mr. Al-Agha revealed that there will be a move by the Arab League and the countries hosting Palestinian refugees to demand international pressure from the United Nations and other states to make donors pay their overdue contributions to UNRWA.