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Minister Flanagan announces funding of €4.5 million for UN Palestine Refugee Agency

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, T.D., today (Wednesday) announced funding of €4.5 million for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestine Refugees.

€4 million will go to UNRWA’s General Fund to support the Agency in delivering core services, especially in education and health to some 5 million Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and €500,000 will go to UNRWA’s Gaza Emergency Appeal to help meet urgent humanitarian needs.

Speaking in Jerusalem following a meeting with UNRWA's Deputy Director General, Sandra Mitchell, Minister Flanagan said:

“Ireland has been a longstanding supporter of UNRWA’s vital work in delivering humanitarian and development assistance to Palestine refugees.

"Today I am announcing the provision of €4 million to UNRWA’s General Fund this year and I am committed to maintaining the same contribution level in 2017 and 2018.

“This multiannual commitment will allow UNRWA greater predictability and flexibility for improved delivery of basic services such as food, water, education and social services to Palestine refugees and will help make a real difference to the lives of this very vulnerable population.”

Minister Flanagan also announced support for UNRWA’s Gaza Emergency Appeal, saying:

“During my visit to Gaza last year, I saw first-hand the appalling destruction caused by the 2014 conflict, and the particularly difficult impact on children. UNRWA is playing a leading role in addressing the devastation caused by the conflict and in meeting immediate humanitarian needs.

"I was very pleased in the course of my visit to receive a detailed briefing from UNRWA's Deputy DG, Sandra Mitchell, on the very significant progress made in rebuilding UNRWA's educational and medical facilities in Gaza and on the excellent education UNRWA provides to Palestinian refugees in Gaza and across its five theatres of operation in this troubled region.

“I am pleased, therefore to announce that Ireland is providing a further €500,000 for UNRWA’s response in Gaza. This fulfils our pledge of €2.5 million made at the International Gaza Reconstruction Conference in 2014 and brings our total support to the 2014 Gaza crisis to €3 million”.

The Minister added:

“Ireland will continue to actively support the search for a lasting and peaceful political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In the meantime, we will continue to offer the humanitarian support which is essential in addressing the ongoing basic and emergency needs of the Palestinian people.”

Press Office
15 June 2016

Notes to editors:

• Today’s funding announcement consists of:
- €4 million for the UNRWA General Fund
- €500,000 to UNRWA’s response in Gaza

• Ireland’s support to the Palestinian people over more than two decades reflects the Government’s longstanding commitment to justice for the Palestinian people and to the development of a viable, sovereign Palestinian state.

• Ireland’s total funding to the Palestinian people in 2015 amounted to over €11.35 million.

• This funding addresses both humanitarian and development needs, providing emergency assistance to the most vulnerable while also supporting the Palestinian Authority in public service delivery and civil society organisations in advocating for human rights.

• The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestine Refugees in the Near East was established by the UN General Assembly in 1949 to carry out direct relief and works programmes for Palestine refugees. Today UNRWA provides services and assistance to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

• As an immediate response to the Gaza conflict last year, Ireland provided €500,000 to UNRWA’s Gaza Emergency Flash Appeal in July 2014. Minister Flanagan pledged a further €2.5 million when he attended the International Gaza Reconstruction Conference in Cairo in 2014. €2 million of this has been provided to UNRWA’s Gaza Emergency Appeal. Today’s announcement of €500,000 fulfils our pledge commitment of €2.5 million and brings our total contribution to the 2014 Gaza conflict to €3 million.

• The funding announced today includes €4 million for UNRWA’s General Fund which provides a full range of social services including health and education services, to Palestine refugees across its five areas of operation. Over the period 2005-2015, Ireland has provided €39.65 million to UNRWA’s General Fund.

• Ireland has also been a generous supporter of UNRWA’s Gaza Emergency Appeals with €7.14 million in humanitarian assistance provided since 2006.