India presented a cheque of $2.5 million, the second tranche of the pledged $5 million annual support, to a UN agency on Monday that will go directly to serve the schools, health centres and other basic services run by the organisation to support Palestinian refugees.
India has given $22.5 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) since 2018. UNRWA is a UN agency that supports the relief and human development of Palestinian refugees.
"The Government of India presented $2.5 million (second tranche of a total contribution of $5 million for the Financial Year 2022-2023) to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), in support of the Agency’s core programmes and services, including education, healthcare, relief and social services," the Representative Office of India (ROI) in Ramallah said in a statement.
"The financial contribution was presented to Ms. Xuran Wu, Associate Donor Relations and Projects Officer, Department of External Relations, UNRWA at the Representative Office of India in Ramallah, Palestine," it added.
During an Extraordinary Virtual Ministerial Pledging Conference for UNRWA held on June 23, 2020, Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan announced that India will contribute $10 million US to UNRWA over the next two years.
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.
It is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.6 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation.
Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight.
UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection, and microfinance among Palestinian refugees.
During the first-ever Prime Ministerial visit to Palestine by Narendra Modi in February 2018, India increased its annual financial contribution fourfold to the UNRWA core budget, from $1.25 million to $5 million.
India has also made a strong appeal to other traditional donors of UNRWA to consider enhancing their contributions as well as to non-donor member states to consider contributing to the agency in solidarity with the Palestine refugees.
UNRWA has expressed its gratitude to the Government of India for its "unwavering support" in aiding the efforts of the agency in supporting the overall human development of the distressed population during "the most challenging times".
"This latest contribution from India brings the overall funding to UNRWA to $5 million this year alone. UNRWA is very grateful to India’s unwavering support to our work for Palestine refugees," Karim Amer, Director of Partnerships at UNRWA, told PTI.
"India has been over the years a committed donor to our work across the region especially during the most challenging of times," he said.
Other officials at the agency told PTI that India "made good on its commitment" even during the pandemic when the agency went through immense difficulties in keeping its services running.