UNRWA temporarily withdraws part of its international staff from the Gaza Strip

01 October 2018

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) today decided to temporarily withdraw part of its international staff from Gaza following a series of worrying security incidents affecting its personnel in the Strip. The Director of Operations and other international staff will remain. UNRWA operations continue in Gaza.  
 
Earlier today, a number of staff were harassed and prevented from carrying out their duties by individuals protesting recent measures resulting from UNRWA’s challenging financial situation in particular in relation to the Emergency Appeal for the oPt. Some of these actions have specifically targeted the UNRWA management in Gaza.
 
This comes after weeks of protests, repeated incidents affecting international and national staff and takes place despite serious UNRWA efforts to engage authorities in an attempt to ensure proper security is afforded to its staff. 
 
UNRWA calls upon the local authorities in Gaza to respond to its repeated demands to provide effective protection to its employees and facilities. 
 
The lack of effective security and safety risk impacting vital humanitarian services to more than 1.3 million refugees in Gaza.

Background Information

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA programme budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s programme budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance. 

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: 
+972 (0)2 589 0267
Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: 
+972 (0)258 90724
UNRWA launched the #DignityIsPriceless campaign in Gaza on 22 January 2018. © 2018 UNRWA Photo Rushdi Al Saraj
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