Legal Implications of Dismantling UNRWA: A European Perspective

  •  Mais Qandeel    
  •  Sarah Progin-Theuerkauf    


Palestine refugees are excluded from the scope of the international refugee protection system. The agency that is currently protecting them, UNRWA, is under threat. What would the end of UNRWA mean at the European level? This article explains the special situation of Palestinians, the history and role of UNRWA and the consequences that a dissolution of UNRWA would entail. It analyses the situation from an EU perspective, as the CJEU has already delivered several landmark judgments. The article concludes that an abolition of UNRWA would place Palestinians in a better position, as the European Union would be obliged to protect all those persons that currently fall under UNRWA’s mandate and are hence excluded from obtaining refugee status. This is a finding that seems to be totally ignored or at least underestimated by the International Community. Nevertheless, the dissolution of UNRWA might lead to an unprecedented deterioration of the situation of Palestinians living in UNRWA’s operating areas.

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