Tell Your Senators: Restore US Aid to UNRWA Now!
In 2018, the Trump administration announced its decision to cut all US aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). This agency helps administer critical services and resources such as health care, education, and emergency food assistance to Palestinian refugees throughout the Middle East. UNRWA’s work is even more important now as COVID-19 greatly exacerbates the difficult conditions that Palestinian refugees endure. Without US funding, UNRWA is unable to execute its important activities that serve millions of Palestinians. Before the $360 million dollars in US funding was cut, it accounted for nearly 30 percent of UNRWA’s budget. Today, UNRWA is left without the funds to pay its November and December salaries for all of its 28,000 staff, including health care workers and teachers. US funding is critical to help relieve the financial crisis UNRWA currently faces and to help provide humanitarian aid to vulnerable Palestinian refugees
In response to this crisis, it is important that members of the Senate retain the provisions in the House passed bill H.R. 7608 directing immediate resumption of humanitarian funding to the Palestinian people, including UNRWA. With the December 11th deadline for appropriations for the 2021 fiscal year quickly approaching, it is imperative that senators hear from their constituents who support restoring humanitarian aid to Palestinians.
Current year funding is available for UNRWA through the Migration Refugee Assistance account as well as funds Congress specifically set aside for humanitarian and development assistance in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. It is essential that members of Congress ensure that these funds are used to help serve Palestinians.
Ever since its creation in 1949, UNRWA has been generously supported by every US president - Republican and Democrat - until now. Humanitarian aid should never be withheld to achieve political goals. Denying humanitarian aid only deepens the crisis Palestinians face and threatens the goal of stability and peace for all people in the region.
UNRWA has responded to U.S. aid cuts and the worsening conditions under COVID-19 by making drastic cuts. The agency has reduced humanitarian assistance and required teachers to teach classes with over 50 students and physicians to care for over 70 patients in one day. Despite the crisis that has developed from the Trump administration’s decision to cut aid to UNRWA, U.S. senators can help guarantee that Palestinians receive vital humanitarian aid by ensuring that the US 2021 fiscal year budget restores aid to UNRWA and restores the United States’ commitment to humanitarian principles that help promote peace and security.
Show your support! Contact your Senators today.
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