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Additional assistance for Palestinian refugees



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1 2 /0 6 '9 8 1 8 :2 8 FAX 02 6273 5959 MEDIA MONITORS MEDIA MONITORS 14)05

M E D I A R E L E A S E MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ALEXANDER DOWNER

A A 47 Friday 12 June 1998

EM BA R G O ED UNTIL 7.30PM AEST

A D D ITIO N A L A SSISTA N C E FO R PA LESTINIA N R EFUGEES

I am p leased to announce a n u m b er o f m easures to address the re lie f and developm ent needs o f P alestin ian refugees in th e M iddle E ast, valued at alm ost $3.4 m illion.

A u stralia has been pro v id in g assistance to the M iddle E ast for m any years, w ith our program o f assistance for the P alestin ian people the m ain focus. A s the oldest refugee p o p u latio n in the w orld, th e needs o f these people arc a constant concern for us.

A u stralia w ill p rovide an additional $1 m illion in 1998 for the w ork o f the U nited N atio n s R e lie f and W orks A g en cy (U N R W A ) w hich play s an im p o rtan t role in providing services to the P alestin e refugees in its five areas o f operation. These funds are intended for the incom e generation activities undertaken by U N R W A as w e see

these activ ities as th e trend o f the future in fostering greater self-reliance am ong the refugee population.

U N R W A has experienced, in the p a st few years, a series o f bu d g et problem s caused in part by th e g row th in the refu g ee pop u latio n and in p art by falling donor contributions. A u stralia has co n trib u ted nearly $9 m illion to U N R W A over th e last three years.

M ental health is an area to o often neglected in conflict zones. A u stralia w ill p rovide $342,000 in 1998 fo r a day care centre for P alestinian victim s o f the in tifa d a . T h e day care centre - an initiativ e o f th e A ustralian R ed C ross — w ill h elp those victim s o f the violence in the reg io n w h o h av e suffered psychological traum a to return to society.

A u stralia w ill p rovide an ad d itio n al $50,000 for the fit out o f the F orensic L aboratory o f the P alestinian C ivil P olice in Gaza. This w ill enable the p ro v isio n o f a large q uantity o f tech n ical equ ip m en t to be provided by another d o n o r and for the laboratory to com m ence operation. This is a v ery p ractical exam ple o f how A u stralia can facilitate a good o u tco m e b y carefully targeting the k ey constraints to

developm ent.

S im ilarly, A u stralia is soon to begin an agricultural capacity b u ild in g project v a lu e d at $2 m illio n over fo u r years. A gricultural developm ent is central to the future o f the P alestinian people as the m ain stay o f the P alestinian econom y. O u r focus on strengthening th e y key P a lestin ia n agricultural institutions is ex p ected to act as a catalyst for o ther donors to b ecom e involved in th e sector.

G AZA M edia contacts M ike Sm ith (Gaza) 0011 972 7628 1801 Innes W illox (M inister’s Office) (02) 6277 7500 / 0411 414 695 M att Francis (AusAID) (02) 6206 4967 / 0417 683 126

Media releases and sp eech es are available from AusAID via the Internet. http://www.ausaid.gov.au