DfID pledges an additional £33.5 million to support Palestinian refugees

The UK has pledged an additional £33.5 million funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to provide support for Palestinian refugees, the UK’s Minister for the Middle East, James Cleverly, announced earlier this week. This brings the UK’s total contribution to UNRWA for 2020 to £34.5 million.

Over the last year, the has UNRWA provided education for more than half a million children and helped over 3.5 million Palestinians access health services. The UK is one of the biggest donors to the agency. 

On 23 June donors pledged $130m to the Agency at the UNRWA pledging conference co-hosted by Jordan and Sweden. It is hoped that this new aid can help mitigate the impact of the poor education and healthcare facilities that ordinary refugees must deal with in the region, brought into particular focus by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Minister for the Middle East, James Cleverly, said:

Overcrowded living conditions and years of conflict have left Palestinian refugees particularly vulnerable to the impact of coronavirus. The pandemic has made it more difficult for UNRWA to carry out its essential work, yet its staff continue to work tirelessly to provide help to those in need.

I am delighted the UK is providing this new support to UNRWA so it can continue to deliver its vital services, including healthcare and education, to Palestinian refugees.

In a statement issues by the UK Department for International Development, the Government reaffirmed its commitment to support a negotiated settlement that leads to a safe and secure Israel living alongside a viable and sovereign Palestinian state, 'based on 1967 borders with agreed land swaps, Jerusalem as the shared capital of both states, and a just, fair and realistic settlement for refugees'.

The UK government also highlighted its continued commitment to supporting UNRWA and Palestinian refugees across the region until a settlement is reached.