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United Nations Relief and Works Agency

  • 20 May 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Recently, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), has applauded India’s financial support to keep its basic services operating, under the Covid-19 crisis.

Key Points

  • The Government of India provided USD 2 million to the UNRWA in support of its core programmes and services, including education and health.
  • India had increased its annual contribution to the UNRWA from USD 1.25 million in 2016 to USD 5 million in 2019.
  • It pledged another USD 5 million for 2020 which opens its way to become a member of the agency’s advisory commission.
  • It is also preparing medical supplies for the Palestinians.

United Nations Relief and Works Agency

  • It is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949.
  • It supports the relief and human development of Palestinian refugees across its five fields of operation.
    • Its services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.
  • Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
  • It is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support
  • 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.


  • 17 agreements have been signed under an India-Palestine development partnership between the two sides in the fields of agriculture, health care, information technology, youth affairs, consular affairs, women empowerment and media.
    • India would provide an assistance of around USD 72 million through these agreements in projects like the post-2014 war reconstruction efforts in Gaza, construction of schools, setting up a centre of excellence for information and communication technologies at Al-Quds University and developing a satellite centre in Ramallah.
  • In March 2020, a delegation of United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) visited india intended to engage India in the settling of the question of Palestine.
  • In June 2019, India voted in favour of a decision introduced by Israel in the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) that objected to granting consultative status to a Palestinian non-governmental organization.
  • In June 2018, India had voted in favour of Palestine on the UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution to investigate an indiscriminate force usage by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians.
  • As a part of Link West Policy, India has de-hyphenated its relationship with Israel and Palestine in 2018 to treat both the countries mutually independent and exclusive.
  • In December 2017, India had criticised the United States vote for recognising Jerusalem as the Israeli capital at the UNGA vote.
  • In 2014, India favoured UNHRC’s resolution to probe Israel’s human rights violations in Gaza. Despite supporting the probe, India abstained from voting against Israel in UNHRC in 2015.

Source: IE

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