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UNWRA and UNHCR

__________________________








CREATION OF UNWRA

Wikipedia

Created in December 1949, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is a relief and human development agency which supports more than 5 million registered Palestinian refugees, and their descendants, who fled or were expelled from their homes during the 1948 Palestine war as well as those who fled or were expelled during and following the 1967 Six Day war. Originally intended to provide jobs on public works projects and direct relief, today UNRWA provides education, health care, and social services to the population it supports. Aid is provided in five areas of operation: Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem; aid for Palestinian refugees outside these five areas is provided by UNHCR.

It also provided relief to Jewish and Arab Palestine refugees inside the state of Israel following the 1948 conflict until the Israeli government took over responsibility for Jewish refugees in 1952. In the absence of a solution to the Palestine refugee problem, the General Assembly has repeatedly renewed UNRWA's mandate, most recently extending it until 30 June 2017.

UNRWA is the only agency dedicated to helping refugees from a specific region or conflict and is separate from UNHCR. Formed in 1950, UNHCR is the main UN refugee agency, which is responsible for aiding other refugees all over the world. Unlike UNRWA, UNHCR has a specific mandate to aid its refugees to eliminate their refugee status by local integration in current country, resettlement in a third country or repatriation when possible. Both UNRWA and UNHCR allow refugee status to be inherited by descendants.

UNRWA has had to develop a working definition of "refugee" to allow it to provide humanitarian assistance. Its definition does not cover final status.

Palestine refugees are defined as "persons whose regular 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."

UNRWA services are available to all those living in its area of operations who meet this definition, who are registered with the Agency, and who need assistance. The descendants of Palestine refugee males, including adopted children, are also eligible for registration as refugees. When the Agency began operations in 1950, it was responding to the needs of about 750,000 Palestine refugees. Today, some 5 million Palestine refugees are registered as eligible for UNRWA service.

See also ‘The MiddleEast Piece - What is UNWRA?

GROWTH OF PALESTINIAN REFUGEES
Middle East Quarterly

At its inception on May 1, 1950, UNRWA served approximately 750,000 persons whom it considered Palestine refugees. Due to natural attrition, most of those original refugees are no longer alive today. Yet the number of "refugees" now registered with UNRWA has grown exponentially instead of declining, with almost 5,000,000 persons registered as Palestinian refugees—seven times as many as those registered sixty-two years ago.

This has been made possible through the addition of descendants of refugees (along the male line) to UNRWA's refugee rolls, regardless of how much time has passed. Today, the vast majority of those classified by UNRWA as Palestinian refugees are in fact descendants of refugees, not persons who were ever refugees themselves. These are grandchildren and great-grandchildren born in Jordan, the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, and elsewhere—not in pre-1948 Palestine.

According to a projection published by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees extrapolating from UNRWA's past growth rates, by 2030, UNRWA's refugee list will expand another 70 percent to 8.5 million. In fact, at the same growth rate, by 2060 there will be four times as many Palestinian refugees as there are today and twenty-five times the number registered by UNRWA in 1950—though not a single one of the original Palestinian refugees is likely still to be alive by then.

Projected growth of UNRWA Refugee Rolls

1950     750,000

2010  4,880,377

2020  6,432,567

2030  8,478,434

2040 11,174,981

2050 14,729,159

2060 19,413,735

Source: Mick Dumper, "Future Prospects for the Palestinian Refugees," Refugee Survey Quarterly, 2-3 (2009): 563-6.

This represents a drastic break with UNRWA's early practice. In 1950, its first director told the General Assembly that the "agency has decided that a refugee is a needy person, who, as a result of the war in Palestine, has lost his home and his means of livelihood."[11] His definition made no reference to descendants.

UNWRA PALESTINIAN REFUGEE CAMPS

Human Rights Watch Policy on the Right of Return

Initially the response of host Arab states to the incoming Palestinian refugees was to offer them refuge on the assumption that it would be temporary. When it became obvious that the problem would be protracted, the policies of Arab states toward the refugees changed, and the initial sympathy was coupled with an insistence on Israel's ultimate responsibility for them. As a result most Arab governments strongly opposed resettlement and naturalization of the refugees. Instead, they adopted policies and procedures aimed at preserving the Palestinian identity of the individuals and their status as refugees.

Nearly one-third of the registered Palestine refugees, more than 1.5 million individuals, live in 58 recognized Palestine refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

A Palestine refugee camp is defined as a plot of land placed at the disposal of UNRWA by the host government to accommodate Palestine refugees and set up facilities to cater to their needs. Areas not designated as such and are not recognized as camps. However, UNRWA also maintains schools, health centres and distribution centres in areas outside the recognized camps where Palestine refugees are concentrated, such as Yarmouk, near Damascus.

The plots of land on which the recognized camps were set up are either state land or, in most cases, land leased by the host government from local landowners. This means that the refugees in camps do not 'own' the land on which their shelters were built, but have the right to 'use' the land for a residence.

Socioeconomic conditions in the camps are generally poor, with high population density, cramped living conditions and inadequate basic infrastructure such as roads and sewers.

The remaining two thirds of registered Palestine refugees live in and around the cities and towns of the host countries, and in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, often in the environs of official camps. While most of UNRWA's installations such as schools and health centres are located in the Palestine refugee camps, a number are outside; all of the Agency’s services are available to all registered Palestine refugees, including those who do not live in the camps.

As shown in the video of the Lebanese camp, movement through the camp is via narrow paths and accommodation is in poor condition.  Residents are not allowed to buy property outside the camp.


UNWRA ANNUAL REPORT 2016 - GAZA

UNWRA

ThIs report describes the current situation for each area.  As an example their Gaza report is reproduced below.

The Gaza Strip is home to a population of approximately 1.9 million people, including 1.3 million Palestine refugees.

For the last decade, the socioeconomic situation in Gaza has been in steady decline. The blockade on land, air and sea imposed by Israel following the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007, entered its 10th year in June 2016 and continues to have a devastating effect as access to markets and people’s movement to and from the Gaza Strip remain severely restricted.

Years of conflict and blockade have left 80 per cent of the population dependent on international assistance. The economy and its capacity to create jobs have been devastated, resulting in the impoverishment and de-development of a highly skilled and well-educated society. The average unemployment rate is well over 41 per cent – one of the highest in the world, according to the World Bank. The number of Palestine refugees relying on UNRWA for food aid has increased from fewer than 80,000 in 2000 to almost one million today.

Over half a million Palestine refugees in Gaza live in the eight recognized Palestine refugee camps, which have one of the highest population densities in the world.

Operating through approximately 12,500 staff in over 300 installations across the Gaza Strip, UNRWA delivers education, health and mental health care, relief and social services, microcredit and emergency assistance to registered Palestine refugees.

On 7 July 2014, a humanitarian emergency was declared by UNRWA in the Gaza Strip, following a severe escalation in hostilities, involving intense Israeli aerial and navy bombardment and Palestinian rocket fire. Hostilities de-escalated following an open-ended ceasefire which entered into force on 26 August 2014. The scale of human loss, destruction, devastation and displacement caused by this third conflict within seven years was catastrophic, unprecedented and unparalleled in Gaza.

UNRWA mounted an extraordinary response during the 50 days of hostilities which highlighted its unique position as the largest UN organization in the Gaza Strip and the only UN Agency that undertakes direct implementation.

The human, social and economic costs of the last hostilities are sit against a backdrop of a society already torn by wide-spread poverty, frustration and anger, heightening vulnerability and political instability. The compounded effects of the blockade and repeated armed conflicts and violence have also had a less visible, but quite profound, psychological impact on the people of Gaza. Among Palestine refugee children, UNRWA estimates that a minimum of 30 per cent require some form of structured psychosocial intervention. Their most common symptoms are: nightmares, eating disorders, intense fear, bed wetting.

In recent years, UNRWA has made significant improvements to its services in Gaza, such as its schools of excellence and excellent health services initiatives. It also better targets its assistance to the poorest of the poor through the implementation of a proxy-means tested poverty survey. UNRWA continues to:



____________________________________________


UNHCR  (The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), also known as the UN Refugee Agency)
Wikipedia

UNHCR was established on 14 December 1950 and succeeded the earlier United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. The agency is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another state, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country.

UNHCR's mandate has gradually been expanded to include protecting and providing humanitarian assistance to whom it describes as other persons "of concern," including internally displaced persons (IDPs) who would fit the legal definition of a refugee under the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and 1967 Protocol, the 1969 Organization for African Unity Convention, or some other treaty if they left their country, but who presently remain in their country of origin. UNHCR presently has major missions in Lebanon, South Sudan, Chad/Darfur, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Afghanistan as well as Kenya to assist and provide services to IDPs and refugees in camps and in urban settings.

UNHCR maintains a database of refugee information, ProGres, which was created during the Kosovo War in the 1990s. The database today contains data on over 11 million refugees, or about 11% of all displaced persons globally. The database contains biometric data, including fingerprints and iris scans and is used to determine aid distribution for recipients.The results of using biometric verification has been successful. When introduced in Kenyan refugee camps of Kakuma and Dadaab in the year 2013, the UN World Food Programme was able to eliminate $1.4m in waste and fraud.

To achieve its mandate, the UNHCR engaged in activities both in the countries of interest and in countries with donors. For example, the UNHCR hosts expert roundtables to discuss issues of concern to the international refugee community.

UNHCR REFUGEE DEFINITION

A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. Most likely, they cannot return home or are afraid to do so. War and ethnic, tribal and religious violence are leading causes of refugees fleeing their countries.

UNHCR TRENDS AT A GLANCE 2016

By the end of 2016, 65.6 million individuals were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations. That was an increase of 300,000 people over the previous year, and the world’s forcibly displaced population
remained at a record high.


65.6 MILLION  FORCIBLY DISPLACED WORLDWIDE
as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations

22.5 million people who were refugees at end-2016

17.2 million under UNHCR’s mandate

5.3 million Palestinian refugees registered by UNRWA

40.3 million internally displaced people

2.8 million asylum-seekers


10.3 MILLION NEWLY DISPLACED

During the year, 10.3 million people were newly displaced by conflict or persecution.
This included 6.9 million individuals displaced within the borders of their own countries
and 3.4 million new refugees and new asylum-seekers.

20 NEW DISPLACEMENTS EVERY MINUTE

The number of new displacements was equivalent
to 20 people being forced to flee their homes
every minute of 2016, or 28,300 every day.

10 MILLION PEOPLE

UNHCR estimated that at least 10 million people were stateless
or at risk of statelessness in 2016.
However, data captured by governments and reported to UNHCR
were limited to 3.2 million stateless individuals in 75 countries.

51% CHILDREN

Children below 18 years of age constituted about half of the refugee population
in 2016, as in recent years.
Children make up an estimated 31 per cent of the total world population.

84% HOSTED BY DEVELOPING REGIONS

Developing regions hosted 84 per cent of the world’s refugees under UNHCR’s mandate,
with about 14.5 million people.
The least developed countries provided asylum to a growing proportion,
with 28 per cent of the global total (4.9 million refugees).

552,200 REFUGEES RETURNED

Refugee returns increased from recent years.
During 2016, 552,200 refugees returned to their countries of origin,
often in less than ideal conditions. T
he number is more than double the previous year and most returned to Afghanistan (384,000).

1 IN 6 PEOPLE A REFUGEE IN LEBANON

Lebanon continued to host the largest number of refugees relative to its national population, where 1 in 6 people was a refugee.
Jordan (1 in 11) and Turkey (1 in 28) ranked second and third, respectively.

55% FROM THREE COUNTRIES

Altogether, more than half (55 per cent) of all refugees worldwide
came from just three countries:

Syrian Arab Republic (5.5 million)

Afghanistan (2.5 million)

South Sudan (1.4 million)

2.9 MILLION PEOPLE HOSTED BY TURKEY

For the third consecutive year,
Turkey hosted the largest number of refugees worldwide, with 2.9 million people.
It was followed by Pakistan (1.4 million), Lebanon (1.0 million),
the Islamic Republic of Iran (979,400), Uganda (940,800), and Ethiopia (791,600).

2.0 MILLION NEW ASYLUM CLAIMS

The number of new asylum claims remained high at 2.0 million.
With 722,400 such claims, Germany was the world’s largest recipient
of new individual applications,
followed by the United States of America (262,000), Italy (123,000), and Turkey (78,600).

189,300  REFUGEES FOR RESETTLEMENT

In 2016, UNHCR referred 162,600 refugees to States for resettlement.
According to government statistics, 37 countries admitted 189,300 refugees for resettlement during the year, including those resettled with UNHCR’s assistance.
The United States of America admitted the highest number (96,900).

75,000 UNACCOMPANIED OR SEPARATED CHILDREN

Unaccompanied or separated children – mainly Afghans, and Syrians –
lodged some 75,000 asylum applications in 70 countries during the year,
although this figure is assumed to be an underestimate.
Germany received the highest number of these applications (35,900).

SOUTH SUDAN

The fastest-growing refugee population was spurred by the crisis in South Sudan.
This group grew by 64 per cent during the second half of 2016
from 854,100 to over 1.4 million, the majority of whom were children.

SYRIA

More than half of the Syrian population lived in displacement in 2016,
either displaced across borders or within their own

Creation of UNWRA

UNWRA Palestinian Refugee Camps

Growth of  Palestinian Refugees

GAZA UNWRA Annual Report
2016


UNHCR
Trends at a Glance 2016


Reassessing
UNWRA

Videos
UNWRA Education

Expulsion of the Jews and Christians from Arab Countries

UNHCR GLOBAL TRENDS DATA 2015
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency
2016 (4.59)

Conflict and persecution caused global forced displacement to escalate sharply in 2015,
reaching the highest level ever recorded.

UNHCR’s annual Global Trends Report said 65.3 million people were displaced as of the end of 2015, compared to 59.5 million just 12 months earlier. This is not only a 21st-century high,
but also the first time the threshold of 60 million has been crossed.