Posts Tagged ‘ UNRWA ’

Teachers protest at UNRWA’s Gaza City headquarters

Wednesday 05/10/2011

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Thousands of teachers on Wednesday protested at UNRWA headquarters in Gaza City over the dismissal of a union official, a Ma’an correspondent reported.

The Local Staff Union called for the general strike on Wednesday, the second such action in a week, to protest at UNRWA’s suspension of the head of the union, Suhail al-Hindi.

Hamas sources said the UN agency had accused Hindi of meeting with Hamas political officials.

Buses took some 7,000 teachers employed at UNRWA-run schools to UN headquarters in Gaza city where they held a sit-in, calling for an end to “UNRWA political punishment of employees.”

“Death rather than humiliation” read a banner held by striking teachers. “Deception, lying and hypocrisy have become the core values of UNRWA,” read another.

The strike affected all of UNRWA’s 243 schools in Gaza.

Hindi told the teachers he would stand against “oppression and injustice” but added that Palestinians saw UNRWA as a symbol of the cause of refugees and that its role should be preserved “until the Israeli occupation is removed.”

UNRWA was founded in 1949 to serve refugees in Gaza, the West Bank and Arab countries after hundreds of thousands were displaced from Palestine when Israel was created. The agency’s most recent mandate extends to June 30, 2014.

Chris Gunness, UNRWA’s chief spokesman in Jerusalem, said disputes should be resolved internally and not through actions that undermine agency operations and services to refugees in Gaza.

“UNRWA is extremely concerned about the impact of further strikes on the education of 220,000 children in our schools, children whose right to education is being denied,” he said in a statement.

Earlier this week, Hamas accused UNRWA of trying to create a “parallel authority”.

“The Palestinian people cannot accept the punishment of an employee of the head of the employees union just because of his participation in a regular community activity,” said Taher al-Nunu, spokesman of the Hamas-led government in Gaza.

Hamas lawmakers often criticize UNRWA’s education policies and some accuse it of trying to teach material that encourages normalization with Israel or educates pupils about the Holocaust.

Islamist radicals opposed to mixed-gender activities are believed to be behind arson attacks on UNRWA-run summer camps.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Source: Ma’an News Agency.


Hamas slams UNRWA for interfering in union activities


GAZA, (PIC)– The Hamas Movement’s department of refugee affairs criticized the UNRWA administration for intervening in the work of labor unions in Gaza and suspending head of the UNRWA’s Arab staff union Suhail Hindi for three weeks.

“The [suspension] decision falls within its attempts to muzzle its employees, break their will and deter them from engaging in any union activities, the refugee department said in a press release on Saturday.

“The UNRWA has no right to control the movement of its employees who are affiliated with unions; this is considered intervention in their freedoms which are internationally protected, it added.

“The UNRWA’s attempts to restrain its employees and their representatives from claiming their rights and acting for their just cause will be doomed to failure, and there is no need for the UNRWA to repeat mistakes which cause it to lose on the moral level.”

For its part, the committee for the rights of refugees denounced the UNRWA for converting itself from a relief foundation into a political and security agency.

The committee accused the administration of the UNRWA of carrying out conspiratorial schemes against the Palestinian refugees and changing its relief role into a dubious political and intelligence role through recruiting a very large number of foreign employees for jobs of no use to the Palestinian people.

It emphasized in a press release its rejection of transferring the UNRWA from a relief agency for refugees into a security and political institution serving foreign agendas aimed at liquidating the issue of Palestinian refugees.

Source: Occupied Palestine WordPress News Blog.

Brazil increases funding to UNRWA

Friday 16/12/2011

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Brazil announced a pledge of $7.5 million to UNRWA on Friday, in a move described as an unprecedented contribution from the Latin American country, Palestinian Authority media reported.

The official news agency in Ramallah, Wafa, reported that the announcement was delivered at a ceremony in Gaza between the Brazilian representative to the PA, Ligia Maria Scherer, and UNRWA chief Filippo Grandi.

“These important contributions will make Brazil one of UNRWA’s most significant donors and will help the Agency meet the rising needs of the refugee population it serves,” Wafa reported, quoting a statement.

Scherer also expressed Brazil’s concerns about the humanitarian situation in Gaza, Wafa said.

“We believe in this connection that UNRWA’s mission is essential in addressing the needs of Palestinian refugees, due to its presence on the ground and specific mandate within the UN system.

“The international acknowledgement and the local appreciation of the Agency’s work bear witness to its vital role. Strengthening UNRWA is critical to help the Palestinian people,” Scherer said.

Source: Ma’an News Agency.

UNRWA union strikes in Gaza, says 3 dismissed unfairly

Wednesday 18/05/2011

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Palestinians working for the UN refugee agency in Gaza announced a comprehensive strike for Wednesday, over the dismissal of three employees union officials say were wrongfully let go.

The strike will last all day Wednesday through Thursday, and see all of UNRWA’s unessential services, like schools, clinics, and administration offices close. Nearly 11,500 workers will walk out of their jobs, effecting 238 schools and 25 clinics.

According to head of the workers union Salim Al-Hindi, three men were dismissed from their jobs because they had at some point come under investigation by local Gaza security forces. The three were all found not guilty but according to the official were fired anyway.

Details of the cases were given as follows:

K.H.W., a teacher, had “problems between him and his cousins,” was investigated by local police and found innocent

A.A., a worker in environment health who was arrested by government security forces after being charged with involvement in the Rafah mosque take-over in 2009, when a Salafist group declared the city an Islamic emirate, an incident that ended in a mass gunfight leaving 22 dead. AA, however, was questioned and released without charge.

A.A., an employee in the services department, he was arrested along with two friends; all were charged with possession of prohibited drugs. The worker was interrogated by local security departments who released him without charge, but detained his two friends.

Al-Hindi called the dismissals “arbitrary,” and was effectively an “execution of the workers and their families,” who would have no other source of income.

“There must be respect for dignity,” the official said, asking that the men be returned immediately to their post.

UNRWA spokesman in Jerusalem Chist Gunnes said “The staff members were dismissed following an inquiry and subsequent review, and under new internal justice procedures agreed between UNRWA and the unions they have the right to appeal.”

Source: Ma’an News Agency.