SPOUSE OF THE PRIME MINISTER OF JAPAN VISITS WEST BANK REFUGEE CAMP
20 January 2015
Akie Abe, the spouse of the Prime Minister of Japan, today visited Dheisheh refugee camp in the West Bank to learn about life in Palestine refugee camps and see how Japanese support is making a positive impact on residents.
Ms. Abe visited Dheisheh Health Centre, where she witnessed how Japanese assistance is improving the health of mothers and children by supporting the introduction of a Maternal and Child Health Handbook. Ms. Abe then visited the Educational Centre for Disabled Children, where Japan funded expansion work, including a fourth floor and an elevator that provides essential accessibility in the centre.
UNRWA Director of Operations in the West Bank, Felipe Sanchez, welcomed Ms. Abe to Dheisheh. “Japan is a valuable partner of UNRWA, not only in the West Bank, but throughout the region,” Mr. Sanchez said. “I would like to thank the government and people of Japan for supporting the day-to-day delivery of essential health services to Palestine refugees. These health services are essential to ensuring refugees access some of their most fundamental human rights, which in turn contributes to peace and security in the region.”
Japan has been supporting Palestine refugees through contributions to UNRWA since 1953, and has been a member of the Agency’s Advisory Commission since 1973. Japan’s annual contribution to UNRWA in 2014 totaled US$ 28 million.
UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.
Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 81 million.
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