The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) today rejected attempts to alter the mandate of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) or to tamper with its duties specified in the UN General Assembly’s resolution No. 302.
During a meeting of its members at the PLO headquarters, a PLO committee that follows up on the mandate of UNRWA confirmed that the body that is responsible for UNRWA’s mandate is the United Nations General Assembly through a vote of its Member States.
The committee also discussed the financial situation of UNRWA in light of the continuing financial deficit in its budget estimated at $100 million, in addition to the statements issued by the Commissioner-General of UNRWA on strengthening partnerships with international organizations to provide service on behalf of UNRWA.
Accordingly, the Committee rejected UNRWA Commissioner-General Philip Lazzarini’s letter, dated April 23 addressed to Palestinian refugees regarding increasing partnerships within the United Nations system to provide services on behalf of the UN agency and under its supervision.
The committee considered his remarks as a transgression and violation of the authority assigned to him as an executive officer responsible before the General Assembly for the progress of UNRWA’s work and its service and operational programs in accordance with Article (9) of Resolution 302.
It also viewed the comments as an insult to UNRWA’s status, continuity and survival, as a witness to the crime of uprooting an entire people from their homeland and their right to return.
The committee called on the Commissioner-General of UNRWA to retract his letter, urging him to search for new funding models to mobilize financial resources and secure sustainable funding that enhances the role of UNRWA to carry out its tasks.
The PLO also called on the United Nations and its Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to increase their financial contributions to cover the financial deficit in the UNRWA budget.
It also called on donor countries to fulfill their financial pledges to UNRWA to enable it to overcome its financial deficit and to play its role in providing relief and employment services to Palestinian refugees.
It stressed that the Palestinian move would be at the highest political and diplomatic levels to mobilize political support for the renewal of UNRWA’s mandate, and for the success of the Pledges Conference for major donors to be held in New York on June 23.