About: UNRWA

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What is UNRWA?

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) provides assistance and protection for some 5 million registered Palestine refugees to help them achieve their full potential.

UNRWA provides services such as education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance, to Palestine refuges.

UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions from UN Member States.

Why was UNRWA established?

Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict, UNRWA was established by United Nations General Assembly resolution 302 (IV) of 8 December 1949 to carry out direct relief and works programmes for Palestine refugees. The Agency began operations on 1 May 1950.

In the absence of a solution to the Palestine refugee problem, the General Assembly has repeatedly renewed UNRWA's mandate, most recently extending it until 30 June 2017.

Who are Palestine refugees?

Palestine refugees are defined as "persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict."

UNRWA's services are available to all those living in its area of operations who meet this definition, who are registered with the Agency and who need assistance. The descendants of Palestine refugee males, including adopted children, are also eligible for registration. When the Agency began operations in 1950, it was responding to the needs of about 750,000 Palestine refugees. Today, some 5 million Palestine refugees are eligible for UNRWA services.

Where do Palestine refugees live?

Nearly one-third of the registered Palestine refugees, more than 1.5 million individuals, live in 58 recognized Palestine refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

The remaining two thirds of registered Palestine refugees live in and around the cities and towns of the host countries, and in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, often in the environs of official camps. While most of UNRWA's installations such as schools and health centers are located in the Palestine refugee camps, a number are outside; all of the Agency's services are available to all registered Palestine refugees, including those who do not live in the camps.

For more information see http://unrwa.org

Figures as of 30 November 2017

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