The United States has long been the biggest financial supporter of refugee programs at the United Nations. But it’s no secret that President Trump wants to roll back U.S. funding to the transnational body.
Karen AbuZayd is a career diplomat who has led several U.N. agencies. Most recently, she has served has one of three remaining commissioners for the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Syria. The commission looks into war crimes, reparations, and the peace process in Syria, including the settlement of refugees from the 7-year conflict.
AbuZayd has a lot of experience with refugees. From 2005-2009, she was the commissioner general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which still provides aid to most Palestinians in the West Bank, and has expanded to be the lifeline of 5 million refugees in Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan.
The U.S. government, which supplies UNRWA with $369 million per year, recently froze a $125 million transfer that was supposed to keep the agency afloat at the beginning of the year.
AbuZayd joins Worldview to discuss the situation in Syria and the fate of refugees from the Middle East.