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400 UNRWA employees under threat of contract suspension in Gaza

July 1, 2018 1:29 P.M. (Updated: July 4, 2018 3:39 P.M.)
GAZA (Ma'an) -- The UNRWA Staff Union and UNRWA Head Union in Gaza warned the agency’s administration from taking unprecedented extreme measures and withdrawing from sent notices suspending work contracts to about 400 employees, in the besieged Gaza Strip.

A statement released by the two unions revealed a meeting with the director of the UNRWA agency in Gaza, in which the director discussed the reprecussions of the financial crisis affecting the Gaza Strip, which puts about 1000 employee contracts into the emergency budget, including mental health programs and other related programs.

The statement stated that the administration of UNRWA must withdraw all notices sent suspending the contracts of employees and to not cut off the only source of living from many Gaza residents.

The statement added that the possibility of delaying the payment of salaries is not acceptable and that it is necessary for the agency itself to take on the responsibility of raising funds and providing service programs for over a million refugees and about 13,000 employees in the Strip.

The statement also called upon international communities to stand up to its humanitarian responsibilities towards UNRWA in such a difficult financial crisis.

UNRWA provides cash assistance to more than 400,000 Palestinian refugees in Syria -- one of the largest such programs in an active conflict setting anywhere in the world. UNRWA also provides education to over 47,000 Palestinian refugees in the war-torn country.

In Gaza, where the unemployment is among the highest in the world due to a decade-long Israeli siege on the coastal enclave, almost one million Palestinian refugees are dependent on UNRWA for emergency food assistance -- ten times the amount of refugees that required such support in 2000.

UNRWA's very existence since establishment has been tied to the provision of services to the Palestinian refugees until a fair solution to their cause has been reached in accordance with General Assembly Resolution 194, which states the right of the Palestinian people to return to the towns and villages from which they were forced out as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war and the establishment of the State of Israel.

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