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UN extends Palestinian refugee mission until 2023

Jordan hails international community's support

By JT - Dec 15,2019 - Last updated at Dec 15,2019

The United Nations extends the work of its Palestinian refugee agency for another three years on Friday, despite fierce opposition from the United States and Israel (AFP photo)

AMMAN — Jordan on Saturday hailed the UN General Assembly's decision to extend UNRWA mandate to 2023. 

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Deifallah Fayez said the decision is a "true support to the Palestinian refugees' right to live in dignity", according to a ministry statement.

The UN extended the work of its Palestinian refugee agency for another three years on Friday, despite fierce opposition from the United States and Israel.

The current mandate was due to run out in June 2020 but 169 countries approved a renewal up to 2023 at the UN General Assembly, with the Americans and Israelis voting against and nine countries abstaining, according to AFP.

The resolution approved on Friday “all donors to continue to strengthen their efforts to meet the anticipated needs of the agency” amid deteriorating socio-economic conditions in the Palestinian territories. 

The vote with an overwhelming majority to renew UNRWA’s mandate is a confirmation for the clear international stance on the importance for the UN agency to continue its duties towards millions of Palestinian refugees in the fields of education, health and relief, Fayez stressed.

“The decision supports refugees’ right to live in dignity especially that their cause is one of the top final-status issues that has to be solved according to the international legitimacy resolutions, mainly UN Resolution 194 and the Arab peace initiative,” the spokesperson said.

The agency provides vital schooling and medical services to some 5 million Palestinians in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

In Jordan, over 2.1 million registered Palestinian refugees distributed among 10 camps benefit from the agency’s services and financial aid.

The agency runs 169 schools in the Kingdom — where some 120,000 students are enrolled — as well as a faculty of science and educational arts, 25 primary healthcare centres and other services.

In 2018, the US suspended and later cut all funding for UNRWA, causing a financial crisis that threatened to see its schools and hospitals closed.

UNRWA was set up after more than 700,000 Palestinians were expelled from their lands during the 1948 war.

It provides schooling and medical services to millions of impoverished refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria as well as the Palestinian territories, and employs around 30,000 people, mostly Palestinians.

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