Tánaiste and Minister Cannon announce funding to support Palestine Refugees
News01 December 2017
Tánaiste and Minister Cannon announce additional Irish funding of €500,000 to support Palestine Refugees in Gaza
The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney, T.D. and the Minister of State for International Development and the Diaspora, Ciarán Cannon, T.D. have announced additional humanitarian funding of €500,000 which will provide urgently needed food, shelter and social services for 1.3 million Palestine refugees in Gaza.
The additional funding will be channelled through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and will help support UNRWA’s valuable work in providing humanitarian assistance to Palestine refugees living in Gaza. It is a further demonstration of Ireland’s commitment to responding to humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable Palestinian people.
Announcing the additional Irish funding, the Tánaiste said:
“Following ten years of economic blockade, the humanitarian situation in Gaza is increasingly fragile. The majority of its population are dependent on humanitarian aid to meet basic needs and almost half a million refugees live in extreme poverty.”
“Ireland is a longstanding supporter of UNRWA and I commend the vital work being undertaken by the Agency to meet the basic and emergency needs of Palestine refugees, not only in Gaza, but in its other fields of operation across the Middle East.”
Speaking after a meeting in Dublin yesterday afternoon with the Commissioner General of UNRWA, Mr. Pierre Krähenbühl, Minister of State Cannon said:
“As a steadfast supporter of the Palestinian people, Ireland has been generous in its response to the Gaza crisis. However, it is clear that humanitarian needs in Gaza remain enormous. In response to this continuing need, Ireland is providing additional funding of €500,000 to support UNRWA’s ongoing response to the humanitarian needs of Palestine refugees in Gaza.”
“The long term prosperity and wellbeing of the Palestinian people will, however, depend on successful political negotiations. Ireland will continue to actively support the search for a lasting and peaceful political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
1 December 2017
Notes to editors:
• This funding announcement consists of €500,000 for UNRWA’s 2017 Emergency Appeal for the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), earmarked for its programme 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 2017 will amount to some €11 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, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
• Ireland’s support to UNRWA is provided primarily as an annual contribution to UNRWA’s Programme Budget 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 2005-2017, Ireland has provided €47.65 million to UNRWA’s Programme Budget, with €4 million provided in 2017.
• Ireland has also been a generous supporter of UNRWA’s Gaza Emergency Appeals with €7.64 million in humanitarian assistance provided since 2006, which included €2.5 million in fulfilment of our pledge at the International Gaza Reconstruction Conference in 2014, disbursed over 2014-2016.