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Resources updated Monday, October 07, 2019

October 7, 2019

Iraqi police (File photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Iraqi police fire on protesters in new unrest, death toll passes 100 Document

An UNRWA building in Jerusalem (File photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

"'Direct pressure' by donors is the most likely way to induce the United Nations Relief and Works Agency to change, former UNRWA general counsel James Lindsay told JNS as the 74th session of the U.N. General Assembly came to a close last week in New York.

Speaking from Geneva, Lindsay-the only former senior UNRWA official ever to have written a thorough critique of the agency, which is tasked with serving 5.6 million Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, eastern Jerusalem, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan-told JNS that while the renewal of the agency's mandate in the coming months was 'pretty much a foregone conclusion,' donor countries can still have a very significant impact. (The agency's mandate must be renewed every three years.) Donors countries should be encouraged to do 'the right thing,' he said, by 'pressure and embarrassment,' if necessary.
Lindsay detailed UNRWA's undermining of its own mission as a 'humanitarian and welfare organization focused on the immediate relief of people in distress.'

For example, he said, only 10 percent of the organization's current budget goes to basic, immediate needs, while the rest goes to education and medical care, which he called 'governmental responsibilities.'

'There is no reason why the United Nations should be providing that,' he said.

UNRWA's major structural problem, he said, is its unique definition of who qualifies as a refugee. According to the agency's definition, Palestinians who have citizenship in their host countries, including 1.8 million Jordanian citizens, are still classified as refugees. This is unlike the definition used by the U.N. Human Rights Council, which is responsible for all other refugees around the world.
'From a practical standpoint,' Lindsay told JNS, 'I suspect all member states already know that the UNRWA definition of a refugee should, from a moral and legal standpoint, be made identical to the definition for all other refugees in the world.'..."

UNRWA must evolve or dissolve, says former senior agency official Article

French police (File photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Paris police attacker a radicalised Islamist, says French prosecutor Document