UNRWA and UNICEF strongly condemn the armed violence in Ein El‑Hilweh

01 March 2017

Statement attributable to Tanya Chapuisat, UNICEF Lebanon Representative, and Hakam Shahwan, Director of UNRWA Affairs a.i. in Lebanon on the impact and injuries to civilians, including children, resulting from the ongoing clashes in the Ein el-Hilweh Palestinian Refugee Camp

UNRWA and UNICEF strongly condemn the armed violence in Ein El‑Hilweh Palestine refugee camp in Saida, which directly affects the safety and security of civilians, including children. 

We deplore reports at least nine civilians, including a thirteen year old boy and a   United Nations (UNRWA) staff member, have been injured as a result of the conflict.  We are deeply concerned that ongoing violence will result in further civilian casualties, including children.

As a result of the violence, most of the education, health and other services in the camp have been suspended.  Three UNRWA schools have been entered and used by armed actors without authorization and in breach of the inviolability of UN premises.

UNICEF and UNRWA denounce the violence which again has restricted access to schools and continues to deprive children, including some 5,500 Palestine refugee children registered in UNRWA schools, from enjoying their right to education.  Further, civilians residing in the camp have limited access to critical health care.

UNICEF and UNRWA call on all those involved to respect the sanctity of human life and to ensure the protection of Palestine refugees and other residents of the camp. We call on all armed actors operating in the camp to cease hostilities and take necessary measures to protect civilians, to respect the sanctity and inviolability of UN premises, and ensure safe access to schools, clinics and other vital services.