7 Septemeber 2018
Following the announcement that US will withdraw all aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), aid agency CAFOD is calling for greater action from the international community to support the five million registered Palestinian refugees.
The announcement earlier this week threatens to cut much of the humanitarian support – which funds services like health, social care and education - that many vulnerable Palestinian refugees depend on.
Leila el Ali, Director of CAFOD's partner Association Najdeh, who works with Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, said:
“We are concerned about the cuts in funding to UNRWA which will further deprive vulnerable refugees of the right to shelter, health and a dignified life.
“Many are trapped in deep poverty, dependent on humanitarian assistance from UNRWA for subsistence and for essential social services such as health and education”.
“Furthermore, the cuts have a political dimension which is to dismantle UNRWA thereby seeking to undermine the legal status of Palestinian refugees.
“We are calling on the international community to support the rights of Palestinian refugees based on existing UN resolutions, and their right to self-determination.”
CAFOD currently supports partners working with Palestinian refugees in the occupied Palestinian territory and Lebanon to access employment opportunities, to prevent violence against women and to provide access to justice through legal aid and advocacy.
Janet Symes, CAFOD’s Head of Region for Asia and the Middle East, said:
“We welcome the UK government’s announcement of a further £7 million of funding to UNRWA for this year.
“It is vital that the UK government turns this first step into further concerted action by the international community to uphold UNRWA’s mandate and ensure UNRWA can continue to provide essential services such as education, health and food assistance to Palestinian refugees living in hardship across the region.
“CAFOD is clear that all people in the region have the right to enjoy a just peace, to have the opportunity to flourish and to live with dignity.
“This won’t be achieved by threatening access to vital services and denying the basic rights of refugees”.
Notes to Editors
Janet Symes, CAFOD’s Head of Region for Asia and the Middle East, is available for broadcast interviews, comment and briefings.
CAFOD is the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development and is a member of Caritas Internationalis. It works with communities across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, to fight poverty and injustice. The aid agency works with people in need regardless of race, gender, religion or nationality.
For further information or media requests please contact: Elouise Hobbs on - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Landline: 020 7 095 5453, Mobile: 07954 077 426 or or CAFOD out-of-hours media hotline: +44 (0)7919 301 429. email@example.comFor further information or media requests please contact: Elouise Hobbs on - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Landline: 020 7 095 5453, Mobile: 07954 077 426 or or CAFOD out-of-hours media hotline: +44 (0)7919 301 429.