Statement by BADIL and the Global Palestinian Refugee Network (GPRN)
By the end of this year, the UN Member States of its General Assembly (UNGA) will vote the renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). The renewal would once again re-affirm the responsibility and commitment of the UN and its member states towards not only UNRWA but more importantly, towards Palestinian refugees. However, clear message must be sent again to Israel and its staunchest allies that UNRWA, Palestinian refugees and their rights remain crucial and pertinent issues to the UN and its member states and that UNRWA is the sole agency responsible for assisting Palestinian refugees until a durable solution is provided and implemented.
This year’s UNGA vote on UNRWA’s mandate renewal is highly important due to the many challenges faced by UNRWA that include:
- UNRWA’s chronic budget crisis
- Donors’ politically conditional funding to UNRWA
- Attempts to de-Palestinianize the Palestinian education curriculum
- Attempts at redefining and limiting the number of Palestinian refugees to access their rights, including their eligibility to receive UNRWA’s services
- Attempts to transfer UNRWA’s responsibilities to other UN agencies, international organizations or host states
As such, BADIL and the GPRN call on:
- The United Nations to convert state contributions to the UNRWA budget from voluntary to mandatory contributions and to reject the transfer of UNRWA’s responsibilities to other UN agencies, iNGOs or host states.
- The UN General Assembly to reinforce its commitment to UNRWA by not only renewing its mandate but also addressing the various structural flaws associated with it. Financial and political support for UNRWA is necessary until Palestinian refugees and IDPs access to durable solutions, in line with UNGA Resolution 194(III).
- International agencies to cooperate with UNRWA for the success of its programs according to Article 18 of UNRWA's statute (UNGA Res. 302), which means cooperating with these agencies and not authorizing them to provide services on behalf of UNRWA.
- The International donor community to stop conditioning humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people and UNRWA based on Zionist-Israeli allegations whereby the securitization of the Palestinian context based on Israeli criteria is a form of complicity in the Israeli colonial project.