Protests in Gaza on the downsizing of UNRWA services

Protests in Gaza on the downsizing of UNRWA services

Gaza _ Palestine News Network

Hundreds of citizens demonstrated on Monday, off the UNRWA headquarters in Gaza, protesting the curtailment of the agency´s services by its financial deficits.

The event took place at the invitation of the "Trade Unions caucus" in the Gaza Strip, and the participants raised Palestinian flags, banners affirming the "refugee´s right to education and employment" and others refusing to "plot" to curtail the agency´s work.

The participants echoed slogans calling for international intervention to resolve the financial crisis of UNRWA and another calling for the continuation of the Agency´s services without downsizing, including the opening of the school year in its schools without delay.

The school year in UNRWA schools is still unknown, threatening the inherent right to education of about half a million Palestinian refugee students, said UNRWA teachers captain Khaled al-Mezine.

The Minister stressed the rejection of any reduction in UNRWA´s services, especially in the education and health sectors, and the need for the international parties to shoulder their responsibility to resolve the escalating financial crisis of the IAEA.

UNRWA has been in frequent protests for more than a month, especially after its decision to demobilize some 1,000 employees between terminating their contracts and converting others to a partial contract until the end of the year, because of the shortfall in its fiscal budget.

Since the beginning of this year, UNRWA has been facing an unprecedented fiscal deficit after the United States failed to provide $300 million in budget for the agency, according to agency officials.

The agency recently announced its success in reducing its fiscal deficit from 446 million US dollars to 217 million dollars, but cautioned that it had to introduce cutbacks in its services due to the shortfall.

Founded by a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly in 1949, UNRWA is providing its services to some five million Palestine refugees registered in its five regions--Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip--to enable them to realize their full potential in the field of human development until A just solution to their cause is reached.

UNRWA services include education, health care, relief, social services, infrastructure, camp improvement and micro-lending.