Sunday, January 01, 2012

Chart: Comparing How UN Helps Refugees vs 'Palestinian' Refugees

Though both the UNHCR and UNRWA both are supposed to help resolve refugee issues, there is a world of difference between them.

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) describes itself as follows on its website:
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established on December 14, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. 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. It also has a mandate to help stateless people.

United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) describes itself this way:
UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) provides assistance, protection and advocacy for some 5 million registered Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the occupied Palestinian territory, pending a solution to their plight.

UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions from UN member states.
Here is a chart comparing UNWRA and Pal Refugees with UNHCR and every other refugee population.
The chart comes from The Center for Near East Policy Research, LTD

Among the points of interest--

Number of refugees served
UNRWA: 4.7 million
UNHCR: 15.4 million (plus 800,000 awaiting refugee status and 12 million stateless or w/o refugee status)

UNRWA: $1 billion
UNHCR: $3.3 billion

Countries Served
UNHCR: 123

Size of Staff:
UNRWA: 29,000
UNHCR: 7,200

Definition of Refugee
UNRWA: Anyone who lost place of residence and means of livelihood as a result of 1948 Arab-Israeli war.
UNHCR: Person who is outside country of his habitual residence due to a well-founded fear of being persecuted
(Note: 1951 Refugee Convention applies to all refugees except Palestinian Arabs)

Descendants of Refugees Also Counted As Refugees
UNRWA: Yes. Indefinitely, via male line

UNRWA: To provide humanitarian services to the refugees
UNHCR: To protect refugees and resolve refugee problems

Return to Place of Origin Considered An Inalienable Right
UNRWA: Yes. No other options are considered. Refugees are kept in temporary situation pending return--with the status of 'refugee' sustained even for those who maintain citizenship elsewhere.
UNHCR: No. The right protected is to find asylum; resettlement in country of refuge or a third country are options when return is not possible. Goal is to help refugees get on with their lives and as a result most are resettled, not repatriated.

Bottom line: The UNHCR has done more for more refugees with less money per refugee and less staff than UNRWA, which expects to continue to be funded despite if is obvious failure to do its job.

Read the entire chart.

Click here for full screen view

Hat tip Challah Hu Akbar

Technorati Tag: and and .
Post a Comment