Due to the particular vulnerability of the Palestine refugee population affected by the West Bank Barrier and its associated gate and permit regime, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) established the Barrier Monitoring Unit (BMU). Financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the BMU started its operations in early 2010.
The primary objectives of the BMU are to systematically document how the West Bank Barrier impacts the lives of Palestinians, to improve Palestinian access to land, livelihoods and services, and to build the capacity of local institutions to conduct research and advocacy on the Barrier. The BMU involves local partners in all its research projects, from developing joint methodologies and surveys to the coordination of fieldwork and capacity-building.
By 2011, approximately 62 per cent of the Barrier has been constructed. If completed, an estimated 85 per cent of its 708-kilometre route will run inside the West Bank, effectively appropriating 9.4 per cent of its territory and cutting Palestinian communities off from their lands.