New York – Information Office – 10 November
The State of Qatar affirmed its continued support to the brotherly Palestinian people until they enjoy their inalienable rights, as well as its support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to fulfill its important mandate.
Addressing the Fourth Committee of the UN General Assembly on item 54: UNRAW, Deputy Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar Jassim Sayar Al Maawda said that UNRWA is one of the oldest, largest and most important United Nations agencies, which reflects the basic need of millions of registered Palestine refugees for UNRWA's vital role which provides them with the necessary protection and support in the face of the challenges they face. These challenges will continue as long as the plight of the Palestinian refugees exists and until reaching a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement of the Palestinian question, including the right of return for refugees in accordance with relevant UN resolutions, in particular the General Assembly resolution No. 194 of 1948.
Al Maawda added that the number of Palestinians dependent on the services provided by UNRWA in accordance with its mandate under the relevant General Assembly resolutions exceeded five million registered refugees in the Occupied Palestinian territory, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, These services meet to the minimum needs necessary to enable refugees to overcome the difficulties they face, and to enjoy basic human rights, human development and an adequate standard of living, through the agency's comprehensive activities in the areas of basic health care, basic and secondary education, food, shelter, relief and social services.
He noted that it was clear from UNRWA's annual report that it was carrying out its important mandate in the face of obstacles and difficulties as a result of the difficult humanitarian situation, in particular the difficulties resulting from the chronic funding gap affecting the agency's program budget, the Agency's operational activities and the effectiveness of its core services in all vital areas. Therefore, ensuring sustainable funding for the agency is critical, while at the same time it is necessary to raise the efficiency and improve the use of available resources.
As part of the State of Qatar's responsibility and participation in bearing the financial burdens of the United Nations and its agencies, it has raised the level of its contribution to UNRWA's program budget to support its activities and programs, particularly in the field of education and the construction and rehabilitation of schools, Al Maawda said, noting that the State of Qatar announced at Extraordinary Rome Conference $50 million donation for UNRWA. The agency has recently celebrated the return to school this year, and Qatar's contribution to its education program was vital to opening the schools without delay.
In general, Qatar has been and continues to be at the forefront of countries providing humanitarian support to the brotherly Palestinian people, responding to the great humanitarian needs by announcing a $1 billion pledge at Cairo conference for the reconstruction of Gaza Strip. The State has already completed housing projects, public facilities and infrastructure in the Strip, the Qatari official underlined.
Moreover, in light of the humanitarian tragedy of the residents of Gaza Strip and under the directives of HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the State of Qatar provided emergency humanitarian aid amounting to $150 million, supplied the Strip with fuel to secure electricity, and distributed Qatari grant to 27,000 civil servants in the Strip. These efforts come in the framework of Qatar's keenness on playing a positive role in the interests of stability, which we believe is necessary for sustainable peace, Al Maawda added.
Deputy Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar Jassim Sayar Al Maawda praised the efforts exerted by UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl and all UNRWA staff in order to maintain the agency's work and its indispensable efforts to ensure the provision of basic services to Palestine refugees in light of the very difficult circumstances and the worsening deficit of the agency's budget.