The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) was established by the General Assembly (GA res. 302 (IV)) on 8 December 1949, following the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict, to carry out direct relief and works programmes for Palestine refugees. The Agency began operations on 1 May 1950. In the absence of a solution to the Palestine refugee situation, the General Assembly has repeatedly renewed UNRWA's mandate, most recently extending it until 30 June 2014.
As a provider of public services, UNRWA provides essential services to eligible registered Palestine refugees in its fields of operation: Jordan, Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic and the occupied Palestinian territory. The Agency defines eligible Palestine refugees as persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict. Their descendants are registered as refugees through the male line.
UNRWA's services are available to those living in its area of operations who meet this definition, who are registered with the Agency, and who need assistance. About 4.8 million refugees are registered with UNRWA.
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