oPt + 4 more

$6.2 million for Middle East Refugees on World Refugee Day


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On World Refugee Day 2005, I am pleased to announce today a package of $6.2 million in humanitarian assistance for Palestinian refugees, who represent a significant proportion of the world's refugees.

These funds will be administered by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). UNRWA provides health, education, shelter and food aid to Palestinian refugees in the West Bank and Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

UNRWA estimates that more than four million registered Palestinian refugees live in the Middle East including over one and a half million in the Palestinian territories.

Australia's assistance will provide vital services including emergency employment generation, shelter reconstruction, health and education.

The $6.2 million is made up of $4.2 million in core funding to UNRWA and $2 million to support their 2005 Emergency Appeal for the Palestinian territories.

It brings Australia's total aid to the Palestinian people to $12 million in 2004-2005.

This support for the Middle East peace process aims to reduce the vulnerability of Palestinians to poverty and conflict and is the overarching goal of the Australian Development Co-operation in the Middle East Strategy for 2004-2006.

Australia also recently announced an allocation of $15 million from AusAID's International Refugee Fund for the financial year 2005/06 to support refugees, internally displaced people (IDPs) and asylum seekers in Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, South East Asia and the Pacific.

Media inquiries:

Chris Kenny (Mr Downer's office) 0419 206 890
AusAID (Public Affairs) 0417 680 590