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Tanaiste Simon Coveney announces funding of €6 million to UN Agency for Palestine Refugees

Tánaiste Simon Coveney announces funding of €6 million to UN Agency for Palestine Refugees


The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney T.D. today announced a contribution of €6 million to the United Nations Relief Works Agency for Palestine refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). 


This funding will assist UNRWA in addressing the humanitarian and development needs of 5.6 million Palestine Refugees, providing emergency assistance across UNRWA’s five fields of operation in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. A key aspect of UNRWA’s work will be to address the COVID-19 pandemic and to respond to the intensified humanitarian needs Palestinian communities are now facing.


Announcing the contribution, Tánaiste Simon Coveney T.D. said:


“Even under normal circumstances, the situation of 5.6 million Palestine refugees is extremely challenging. The Covid-19 pandemic will significantly increase their needs, with overcrowded living conditions, physical and mental stress and years of protracted occupation and conflict making the vulnerable population particularly susceptible to the pandemic. Ireland has brought forward its contribution to UNRWA this year in order to support the Agency’s continued provision of critical services such as healthcare, education and humanitarian relief and social services in these difficult circumstances.”  


The Minister of State for International Development, Ciarán Cannon T.D., added:


“Ireland has been a longstanding supporter of the critical work undertaken by UNRWA with and on behalf of Palestine refugees. This funding will support UNRWA in continuing its critical work as it faces increased pressures in combating and mitigating the potentially devastating impact of the virus on an already vulnerable community. Only by all of us working together can we address the challenging needs faced by these most disadvantaged communities.”



Press Office

8 April 2020


Note to editors

Spanning more than two decades, Ireland’s support to the Palestine reflects the Government’s longstanding commitment to justice for the Palestinian people and to the development of a viable, sovereign Palestinian state alongside Israel. It is estimated that there are some 5.6 million registered Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.


€5 million of this allocation is core funding to support UNWRA’s 2020 Programme Budget, of which €1 million is to be earmarked for use in Lebanon; and a further €1 million is allocated towards UNRWA’s Syria Regional Crisis Emergency Appeal.


UNRWA’s Programme Budget is used to provide essential services for 5.6 million Palestinian refugees in the fields of health, education, microfinance, infrastructure and camp improvement, protection, relief and social services across its five areas of operation.


UNRWA’s Syria Regional Crisis Emergency Appeal addresses the basic humanitarian needs of Palestinian refugees affected by the conflict in Syria. Palestinian refugees have been disproportionately affected by this conflict, with an estimated 438,000 UNRWA-registered refugees remaining inside the country, 40% of whom are now internally displaced. Of the refugees, 91% of those registered are in need of sustained humanitarian assistance.


This funding addresses both humanitarian and development needs, providing emergency assistance to the most vulnerable whilst also supporting the Palestinian Authority in public service delivery and civil society organisations in their advocacy of human rights.


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