INDIAN REPRESENTATIVE VISITS PALESTINE REFUGEE CAMPS
On 26 February 2014, the Representative of India to Palestine, H.E B.S. Mubarak, along with his assistant, Mohammed E. Abu-Shamsieh, joined David Hutton, the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Deputy Director of Operations for the West Bank, and an UNRWA delegation for a tour of the Shu’fat and Aqbat Jabr Palestine refugee camps.
The Representative showed keen interest in learning more about Palestine refugees and the hardships of life in a camp. In Aqbat Jabr, near Jericho, where he observed the distribution of food parcels, Mr. Mubarak was briefed on the camp’s history, its challenges and UNRWA services in the camp.
The delegation then visited Shu’fat camp, in Jerualem, Mr. Mubarak visited the camp health centre. UNRWA Jerusalem Area Officer Yousef Hushiyeh explained the complicated situation of Shu’fat camp to the guests, emphasizing the high rate of unemployment among the refugees, even though some of them have access to the city of Jerusalem.
Mr. Mubarak expressed his profound anxiety about the situation of the camp and the difficulties children go through living in a crowded, polluted and unhealthy environment that lacks green areas and fresh air. He said, “All Palestinian refugees should live in dignity,” adding, “It’s unacceptable that a child refugee grows here, finishes his higher studies outside, only to come back to the camp and continue living in this precarious place.”
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$ 65 million.
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