The United States will provide an additional 60 million dollars to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA, for humanitarian assistance to Palestinian refugees. The pledge was announced by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to mark World Refugee Day and the 30th anniversary of the U.S. Refugee Act. The pledge brings the total U.S. contributions to UNRWA to 225 million dollars for the year 2010. "Helping refugees is a transnational challenge that the U.S. takes seriously," said Secretary Clinton:
"The United States is the largest single source of support for assistance to refugees and victims of conflict. It’s true financially, where we’ve provided more than $1.7 billion to refugees and conflict victims last year, including $640 million in support for UNHCR. And it’s true diplomatically. We spend a lot of time and a lot of political capital on these issues."
The work represents a concentrated effort by the Obama administration to renew the U.S. commitment to refugees worldwide, says U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration David Robinson:
"This year we are bringing in about 75 thousand refugees, again, from I think 63 different countries. It's really significant now, because for the first time since 9-11, we are back up at numbers that I think reflect the commitment we've made, to the really millions of refugees around the world that need this as their solution."
Renewed commitment and funding will also go toward improving the quality of life for refugees in camps, said Ambassador Robinson:
"We look at things that are very important to having a fruitful life, from schoolwork to healthcare to livelihood activities, things that will make people live as normal a life as they possibly can under the difficult circumstances in which they find themselves."
"The plight of the world’s refugees is an issue that transcends not just geography and ethnicity, but politics and partisanship as well," said Secretary Clinton. "It reminds us that we are all vulnerable, no matter how comfortable our lives may appear to be."