30 November 2012
On the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation Gunilla Carlsson visited Burj Barajneh Camp in Beirut accompanied by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) Deputy Commissioner-General Margot Ellis, and Director of UNRWA in Lebanon, Ann Dismorr.
The Swedish minister visited UNRWA installations where she was briefed about the range of services provided by the Agency and the challenges faced. At a meeting in the camp’s women’s programme centre, the minister heard first-hand of the experiences facing Palestinian women in Lebanon, and at the Active Ageing House, elderly Palestine refugees sang and danced with Ms. Carlsson, expressing great enthusiasm for the announcement that the Swedish Government will vote in favour of Palestinian Observer State status at the United Nations.
“It is great to be able to meet with the Palestine refugees on this day of solidarity,” said Ms. Carlsson. “It is particularly moving to feel their appreciation for Sweden’s support of the Palestinian people and their aspiration for statehood.”
The visit ended with a meeting with Palestine refugees who fled the ongoing violence in Syria. They described the effects of the conflict on their lives and the daily challenges they experience in Lebanon regarding housing and high cost of living.
Expressing UNRWA’s thanks to Sweden, Ms. Ellis said: “Sweden remains one of UNRWA’s main donors and we are very grateful for their continued support. It has been a pleasure to visit the residents of Burj Barajneh Camp with Minister Carlsson and we have received an exceptionally warm welcome from the community.”
The Government of Sweden is the Agency’s fourth largest donor, contributing USD 40.75 million to UNRWA’s General Fund in 2012 and an additional USD 1.5 million to support the reconstruction of Nahr el-Bared camp in Lebanon.
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UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance.
Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund, supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit.
For more information please contact
UNRWA Public Information Office tel: 00961-1-840468