CHANGE Welcomes Biden Administration’s Restoration of Aid to Palestinian Refugee Agency

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, April 09, 2021

CONTACT: Madison Donzis | [email protected]

Center for Health and Gender Equity Welcomes Biden Administration’s Restoration of Aid to Palestinian Refugee Agency

CHANGE Says US Renewing Humanitarian Aid to UNRWA to Support Palestinian Refugees is Critical to Advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Worldwide

WASHINGTON, DC -- On Wednesday, April 7th, the US State Department announced that it notified the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) that it would be contributing $150 million as part of the United States’ renewed commitment to resume humanitarian assistance to Palestinians, including Palestinian refugees.

The US funding will support UNRWA’s overall program budget - the majority of which funds the operation of schools and health clinics. 

In reaction to the announcement, Serra Sippel, President of CHANGE (the Center for Health and Gender Equity), issued the following statement, welcoming the Biden Administration’s restoration of aid to Palestine and Palestinian refugees:

“When Donald Trump cut more than $300 million in aid to the Palestinian people through UNRWA he catastrophically impacted the health and human rights of Palestinians, including their sexual and reproductive health and rights, due to the loss of critical services provided by primary health care facilities that had provided gynecological and obstetric outpatient consultations, family planning, safe delivery, and clinical breast cancer treatment.

“President Biden’s January 28th Presidential Memorandum on women’s health states that it is now U.S. policy to support women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights in the U.S. and around the world. The decision to restore US aid to UNRWA is an important step toward the United States honoring that commitment to support for sexual and reproductive health and rights.

“But the $150 million in aid is just a good first step - we urge the Biden Administration to restore the full funding of humanitarian aid to UNRWA, at levels not less than 2017, approximately $360 million. According to UNRWA, the renewed funding means UNRWA will be able to support almost 150 primary health clinics providing 8.5 million patient consultations a year in addition to emergency humanitarian aid to Syria, the West Bank (including in East Jerusalem) and Gaza, for food, emergency cash assistance, emergency health, mental health and psychosocial support, education in emergencies, protection, water and sanitation, and COVID-19 response.”

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