The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has announced that the People’s Republic of China has donated $1 million to provide quality, equitable and inclusive basic education for Palestinian children. UNRWA will use the donation towards the agency’s education programme for the benefit of 9,200 students in 19 schools across the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
“On behalf of UNRWA, I would like to express our deep appreciation to the Government of China for its continued support and dedication towards preserving the rights for Palestine refugees,” said Karim Amer, the Director of Partnerships at the agency. “We greatly value our robust partnership with China, which continues to grow and expand.”
In response, the Head of the Office of the People’s Republic of China to the State of Palestine, Ambassador Guo Wei, said: “China commends and supports UNRWA efforts, and has actively provided assistance through UNRWA to the Palestine refugees within its capacity. For several years in a row, China has made donations in support of UNRWA to provide emergency food aid to refugees in the Gaza Strip and has donated pandemic response supplies and Covid-19 vaccines to Palestine refugees.”
He added that the $1 million donation to UNRWA has been given in order to help improve the livelihood of the Palestine refugees. “We are ready to work with the international community to promote the restoration of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, and push for a comprehensive, just and durable solution to the Palestine question, so as to attain peace, stability and development in the Middle East.”
The Chinese donation comes after the Commissioner General of UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini, told the UN Security Council earlier this month that the agency was facing a funding crisis and called for political and financial support.
“UNRWA is facing an existential threat,” warned Lazzarini. “What is at stake? Quality and principled education for over half a million girls and boys; access to health care for around two million Palestine refugees and a social safety net for around 400,000 of the poorest amongst the poor.” All are in danger, he said.
UNRWA was established in 1949 to provide assistance and protection to refugees in five areas — Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza Strip — until they are given their right to return to the homes from which they were forced out as a result of the creation of the occupation state of Israel.