End gender-based violence, says UNRWA Commissioner-General

07 December 2011

7 December 2011

The Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Filippo Grandi, today called for an end to gender-based violence at a training and awareness-raising event at the Agency’s Qalandia Training Centre. Speaking at the event, which is part of a 16-day UNRWA campaign, Grandi said: “Gender-based violence not only affects the victims themselves, often women and girls, but their families, communities and society at large. I am pleased to see that all UNRWA departments, education, health and our relief departments are taking part in this initiative.”

Also attending the event were Majida Al Masri, Minister of Social Affairs, and Rabiha Diab, Minister of Women Affairs, along with other Palestinian Authority officials.

UNRWA’s campaign has been devised and led by UNRWA staff from all departments who have pioneered the family and child protection programme. This promotes close working co-operation between health centres, schools and social workers, in a referral system that aims to identify and protect victims and potential victims. The campaign has been supported by Palestinian institutions and many NGOs and civil society organisations.

UNRWA has organised a broad range of activities in schools and clinics in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, with community-based organisations and women programme centres targeting children, youth, adults and the elderly to mainstream the initiative, and showcase the efforts in protecting and empowering vulnerable refugee groups, especially women. These activities included drawing murals on school walls, screening documentaries and lectures by practitioners and experts, along with recreational activities, such as a bicycle race in Aida Camp, a marathon for children and their mothers in Jericho and theatrical events.

The campaign runs until 10 December, during which time UNRWA hopes to encourage officials, institutions and individuals to take initiatives to help put an end to gender-based violence. 

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Background Information

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at more than US$ 106  million.

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