Date: 20 August 2019
Regarding the suspension of the National Program on Cash Transfers for Poor Families in the Gaza Strip
ICSPR calls for the neutralization of services provided to poor families from political rivalries, and to ensure realizing the rights of social groups.
The International Commission to Support Palestinians Rights “ICSPR” follows with great concern the current crisis of blocking the access to the National Program of the Ministry of Social Development from workers in the Gaza Strip for three months, causing disruption and stopping services including cash services benefiting about 74 thousand poor families in the Gaza Strip and 41,000 families from the West Bank.
This crisis was accompanied by an escalation in the exchange of accusations and the holding of responsibility between the Ministry of Social Development in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, where the Ministry of Social Development justified its measures, due to the official authorities in the Gaza Strip banning the work of the committee charged with following up the work of the ministry in the Gaza Strip, stressing that if the current situation continues, the ministry will be unable to implement programs, services and projects for poor families in the Gaza Strip.
On Tuesday, August 20, 2019, the Ministry of Social Development in Gaza published a press statement confirming that it was surprised that the ministry in Ramallah banned the access to the national program for three months, without warning and without any logical justifications, stating that this program has been working consistently and throughout the work of former ministers since 2011, and reflects the state of unity between the West Bank and Gaza, the Ministry also pointed out that the work on the computerized and standardized program in agreed professional ways and the data are entered and updated continuously, and the ministry has worked in Gaza to facilitate the payment of cash checks, and ensure access to eligible groups, and stressed that the suspension of the program in the Gaza Strip has serious negative repercussions on social work in general and the segment of the poor in particular.
ICSPR warns of the repercussions of the current crisis and its continuation over the social rights of poor families, and stressing that the very deteriorating economic situation in the Gaza Strip makes this crisis an additional reason for impoverishing citizens, and it considers the continued closure and suspension of the national program as a departure from the Palestinian government from its responsibilities and obligations towards the rights of vulnerable and poor groups in the Gaza Strip, and expressing its solidarity with the poor families affected by this crisis, which is primarily due to political reasons. Therefore, ICSPR demands the following:
- ICSPR considers that the actions of the Ministry of Social Development in the West Bank appear to be an extension of the Palestinian Government’s policies towards Gaza Strip based on its endeavor to bring Palestinian citizens of Gaza Strip and their rights into the current political conflict.
- ICSPR considers the closure and suspension of the National Cash Transfer Program as a violation of international human rights instruments and Palestinian laws, especially in light of its disastrous repercussions on the level of services received by Palestinians in Gaza Strip due to the Israeli blockade and political division.
- ICSPR calls on the Ministry of Social Development in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to immediately cease media statements that will perpetuate the crisis and to immediately engage in a national dialogue that takes into account the importance of ensuring that the poor family is accorded due social protection and is considered a priority above all political considerations.
- ICSPR calls on the Palestinian government and the official authorities in Gaza Strip to work to neutralize the rights of poor families from political rivalries, by canceling the decision to close and stop the cash assistance program, and to enable the committee charged with following up the Ministry’s work in the Gaza Strip to exercise its work freely in accordance with the established labor regulations since 2011.
- ICSPR calls upon the donors of the Ministry of Social Development to pressure the Palestinian government and the Ministry of Social Development to respect its legal obligations, under the accession of Palestine to the International Covenant on Economic and Social Rights in 2014.