NEW YORK – At the United Nations, the United Arab Emirates renewed its historical commitment to supporting the Palestinian people, through its support of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The UAE reaffirmed the importance of UNRWA’s humanitarian and development mandate and its efforts to restore stability in the region. The UAE statement was delivered by Ms. Maisoon AlDah, member of the Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, at the UN General Assembly. 

The UAE urged Member States to reduce the deficit facing the Agency. Beyond support for UNRWA, the UAE stressed its commitment to fulfilling its humanitarian obligations around the world, including continuing its cooperation with key international partners and UN agencies.

The UAE confirmed UNRWA’s ever-growing and vital role in providing support to Palestinian refugees and protecting their rights and freedoms, particularly in light of current crises and the spread of extremism and terrorism in the region, which aggravates the refugee crisis.

The UAE outlined its long-standing commitment to supporting the Palestinian people, noting that in 2017 and 2018 alone, the UAE contributed $130 million to Palestine. In April 2018, the UAE contributed $50 million to support UNRWA’s education program, in addition to the $15 million contribution towards the 2017-2018 school year – noting the importance of education in building a better future for upcoming generations. This contribution will enable the continuation of education for over 500,000 students. Through national non-profit organizations, the UAE also supports the reconstruction of schools, hospitals, medical centres and other basic facilities in the Gaza Strip, in addition to providing food assistance to Palestinian refugees affected by the conflict in Syria.

Additionally, the UAE noted that while efforts are being made to alleviate the plight of the Palestinian refugees, resolving the refugee crisis was dependent on resolving the Palestinian issue. Meanwhile, the UAE urged Member States and other donors to provide additional financial support to the Agency to enable it to deliver its important mandate.

The statement expressed the UAE’s deep appreciation for UNRWA and the extraordinary efforts of its staff operating under difficult circumstances to assist refugees and protect them from extremist and terrorist groups in the region.