UNRWA staff intimidated and harassed in the West Bank

18 May 2023


Many UNRWA staff members and their families are coming under increased intimidation, harassment and threats of violence because they have continued to support service delivery to Palestine Refugees and have not joined the West Bank staff strike ongoing since 4 March.   

UNRWA demands an immediate end to such acts against its staff and called on the Palestinian Authority for support to enable the delivery of UNRWA services to Palestinian refugees in line with its mandate.   

UNRWA staff members in the West Bank who chose to uphold their right to work must be able to continue delivering services freely to Palestine refugees without being under pressure and threat. The intimidation includes the forced shutting down of UNRWA premises, threatening phone calls, aggressive public statements that target them, including on social media and threats of consequences for those who continue to support UNRWA delivery of services to Palestine Refugees.   

The West Bank labour dispute and ensuing strike have severely impacted the delivery of services to nearly 900,000 Palestine Refugees in the area, including over 45,000 children who have not been to school for over three months. Their safety, security and wellbeing are compromised. The longer children stay out of school the bigger the damaging effect on their education and future and the more likely they would fall prey to exploitation and abuse.   

UNRWA hopes that ongoing discussions, under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority and through the High Level Committee established for this purpose, will help resolve the dispute in line with the interests of the Agency as a whole, all staff and the refugees.  




Background Information: 

UNRWA is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. The United Nations General Assembly established UNRWA in 1949 with a mandate to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to registered Palestine refugees in the Agency’s area of operations pending a just and lasting solution to their plight.

UNRWA operates in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, The Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. 

Tens of thousands of Palestine refugees who lost their homes and livelihoods due to the 1948 conflict continue to be displaced and in need of support, nearly 75 years on.

UNRWA helps Palestine Refugees achieve their full potential in human development through quality services it provides in education, health care, relief and social services, protection, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance, and emergency assistance. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions.


For more information, please contact:

Juliette Touma
UNRWA Director of Communications
+962-79-867-4628 (on whatsapp)
Tamara Alrifai
UNRWA Spokesperson/ Director of External Relations & Communications
+962 (0)79 090 0140