UNRWA human rights students from Gaza head for Norway

01 August 2010

2 August 2010
Gaza

UNRWA human rights students from Gaza head for NorwayTen top performing students in UNRWA’s human rights exams are heading for Norway on a visit funded by the Norwegian Government. They left Gaza accompanied by three teachers on 31 July and will return on 8 August. On the trip they will visit the Norwegian Nobel Institute and the Oslo Nobel Peace Museum.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for these students to visit some of the institutions that have been so central to promoting the values that we teach here in Gaza,” said UNRWA’s Gaza Director, John Ging. “I hope that these visits will motivate all of our human rights students to excel in their studies, but more important to put into practice in their own lives the lessons they are learning”.

The Norwegian hosts have put together what Ging called a “truly bridge-building” programme. The students will be meeting two young parliamentarians in Oslo, Hadia Tajik and Anette Trettebergstuen who are active supporters of Palestine. They see Palestinian football teams from Gaza and the West Bank, who are in action at the Norway Cup. They will hold discussions with the Ombudsman for Children and the Ombudsman for Equality and Anti-Discrimination, to exchange information and ideas about the situation of women and children in Norway and in Gaza. And they will visit the spectacular fjords and experience the Norwegian countryside by train and cruiser boat. A high point of the trip will be a meeting with former Norwegian Prime Minister, currently the Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, Gro Harlem Brundtland.

The students will also take part in fun activities with children of their own age and above all to experience life outside the Gaza Strip.

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Note to journalists: some in the party from Gaza speak excellent English.

For further information about the programme please contact Catia Lopes on +972 599 604 658 or +972 542 325 606.
For information and interview requests please contact Chris Gunness on +972 542 402 659

Ends

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 US$ 56 million.

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