India Contributes 1 Million USD to Palestine Refugees
14th October 2020
India contributed 1 million USD to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency to support Palestinian refugees in the Near East, facing extreme challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government of India handed over the contribution cheque on Wednesday to the UN agency through its representative in Palestine, Sunil Kumar.
Thanking India for its timely help, Sami Mshasha, Director of Communications at UNRWA, told PTI, "India has been a solid and consistent supporter of Palestinian refugees for decades. This contribution is even more significant as it comes at a critical time".
"India is facing a difficult situation at home due to the pandemic, and it has still not forgotten the Palestinian refugees and stepped in to help stabilise basic services, including education, health care, relief, and social services for Palestinian refugees. I would like to thank the Government of India for its continued funding to UNRWA and its backing of Palestine refugees across the Middle East", said Mshasha, according to The Hindu.
Reiterating India's continued support for UNRWA services, according to Hindustan Times, Kumar, in a press release, said, "On behalf of the Government of India, I would like to express my appreciation for the remarkable efforts carried out by UNRWA. India shall continue supporting the agency's activities in providing vital services and necessary humanitarian aid to Palestinian refugees".
V Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs, during an Extraordinary Virtual Ministerial Pledging Conference for UNRWA held on 23 June 2020, had announced that India would contribute 10 million USD to UNRWA over the next two years.
India increased its annual financial contribution to UNRWA from 1.25 million USD in 2016 to 5 million USD in 2018 and 2019. It had also contributed 2 million USD to the agency in May 2020, which brings the total contribution for this year to 3 million USD so far.
UNRWA is facing increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability, and their deepening poverty."UNRWA has been facing a vast budgetary deficit. With an overwhelming majority of the 5.6 million refugees living under the poverty line, the on-going pandemic has broken the backbone of the necessary infrastructure in the area they live. India's contribution seen in that background is timely and much appreciated", according to The Hindu, Mshasha said.
India has also sent medicines and other supplies to the Palestinian National Authority to help deal with the COVID-19 situation.
UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief, social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection, and microfinance among Palestinian refugees.
Its mission is to help provide assistance and protection to almost 5.6 million Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, to achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight.
India's support for the Palestinian cause is an integral part of the nation's foreign policy. According to the Representative Office of India in Ramallah, India has always played an active role in garnering support for the Palestinian cause across various multilateral fora. Under an India-Palestine development partnership, India is currently funding eight on-going developmental projects worth 59 million US dollars, including building a 215 bed Super Specialty Hospital in Bethlehem, Information Technology Park, National Printing Press, Turathi-Women Empowerment Project, Diplomatic Training Institute, and three schools in various governorates in Palestinian Territories.
News Sources: The Economic Times, BW Businessworld, The Hindu, Wion.
Edited by: Sana Khanam