Date: 28 August 2018
The International Commission (ICSPR) follows with deep concern the arbitrary measures taken by UNRWA against the emergency program staff, under the pretext of lack of international funding, and demands the UNRWA administration withdraw its measures immediately
The International Commission to Support Palestinians’ Rights (ICSPR) condemns and deplores in the strongest possible terms the arbitrary measures against 965 employees by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) at the end of last week (August 2018) in the Gaza Strip.
These measures included dismissing 125 employees who had worked for UNRWA in the emergency program for years, the transfer of 570 permanent staff to part-time contracts who had worked for UNRWA for more than 20 years. In addition to the distribution of 270 employees to lower-level posts on the rest of the programs, and to be dismissed of service by the end of this year, as reported by the UNRWA administration.
According to the statements of “Amir Al-Meshal” President of the Union of Arab employees in “UNRWA”: “The UNRWA administration has ignored all mediations and solutions to contain the crisis and has implemented its decision, which is tantamount to declaring war on 1,000 families threatened to end its work by the end of the year,” stressing that the employees involved in the arbitrary decisions will continue their activities in order to pressure the management of UNRWA to withdraw the recent decisions against them, and they will initiate an open strike action.
The International Commission to Support Palestinians’ Rights (ICSPR) warns of the repercussions of the continuation of the crisis and its impact on life aspects, especially on the reality of the most vulnerable sectors of children, women and the elderly, especially under the recent US decisions, and the failure of some countries to fulfill their financial obligations towards the UNRWA treasury, which will negatively affect the continuity of the work of the international organization and the quality of services provided to Palestine refugees under the international mandate, which would threaten international peace and security. Therefore, ICSPR demands the following:
- The Commission affirms that these measures represent a sharp departure from the pledges and guarantees provided by the Director of Operations of UNRWA, Matthias Shamali, in exchange for all efforts to ensure continuity of UNRWA services, which he intended to keep the refugee issue alive until a just solution to their cause is found.
- The Commission calls on the UNRWA administration to reverse these arbitrary decisions immediately and unconditionally, as it will deepen the escalating living crisis in Gaza Strip for years, and warns of dire consequences that can not be denied.
- The Commission renews its appeals, which it has repeatedly launched in previous times, requesting the international community to work hard to ensure the continuity of the Agency’s work and to take responsibility for the Palestinian refugees until they return to their homes and compensation.
- The Commission invites the General Assembly of the United Nations to include a draft resolution to increase the funding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and to approve it to support the containment of its financial crisis, particularly in the inhuman conditions of Palestinian refugees in all their places of residence.
- The Commission supports the union efforts of the UNRWA Staff Union to demand their fair and legitimate employment rights, and calls upon the national community to act quickly at all levels to support the demands of the staff and to confront UNRWA’s liquidation schemes.