Dec 22, 2018 Volume 392Number 10165p2655-2744, e17-e18
Health and dignity of Palestine refugees at stake: a need for international response to sustain crucial life services at UNRWA
Akiko Kitamura, Masamine Jimba, Julia McCahey, Gloria Paolucci, Sayed Shah, Majed Hababeh,
Yousef Shahin, Akihiro Seita
The UN Sustainable Development Goals affirm equality and dignity as essential to the enjoyment of basic human rights, including the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, which promotes global solidarity among all people, including refugees. The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has provided support to Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank since the 1950s. Today, however, conflict and violence, occupation, high levels of poverty, and other social determinants of health jeopardize the wellbeing of Palestine refugees. Health concerns include non-communicable diseases, mental health conditions, and access to hospital care. Additionally, UNRWA is continuing to face a severe funding crisis. Using a historical and health policy perspective, this Health Policy examines UNRWA strategies that facilitate continuous provision of health-care services for Palestine refugees. Given the increasingly volatile environment faced by this population, a multifaceted international response is needed to enable UNRWA to deliver sustainable services to Palestine refugees and avert further loss of life, dignity, and hope, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight in accordance with applicable international law and UN General Assembly resolutions.