What We Do

Child protection


For UNRWA, child protection is defined as preventing and responding to violence, exploitation, abuse, and neglect against Palestine refugee children, and promoting their well-being and development. 

Palestine refugee children face a range of child protection challenges across the region and even the most basic rights are frequently denied. Addressing these concerns is crucial to ensuring their protection, enhancing their safety and wellbeing, and supporting their and their families’ human development. 

Child protection is central to the service provision of UNRWA in the areas of health, education, and relief and social services. UNRWA is a direct provider of a range of services to more than 2.5 million Palestine refugee children. The Agency has direct contact with thousands of children every day through nurses, doctors, teachers, social workers, and others who enrich the lives of Palestine refugee workers. The Agency recognizes its responsibility to safeguard the children it serves in its programmes, and the need to provide child-sensitive service and programme delivery. 



UNRWA has recognized that strengthening its child protection work is imperative. In 2016, the Agency adopted the UNRWA Child Protection Framework which reaffirms the Agency’s commitment to child protection and lays out the Agency’s approach to provision of services in this area.  



Children may face protection risks at home, at school or in the community. All children should grow up free from violence, and through its programme and service delivery, the Agency aims to ensure that Palestine refugee children have access to basic social services and grow up in a safe environment. This comprehensive approach, including community engagement and a child-focused approach, is the key to the Agency’s child protection activities, as is prevention. 

According to the Agency’s Child Protection Framework, UNRWA child protection work is defined across three main pillars: Commitment to child protection and advocating for respect of child rights; Safeguarding children; Child-sensitive service and programme delivery.

UNRWA child-sensitive services are those in which children’s needs are properly considered and addressed to ensure the accessibility and quality of these services. UNRWA works to ensure that all its services are attentive to children’s needs, putting in place the necessary systems and protocols to adequately serve Palestine refugee children. Additionally, UNRWA is working to scale up child protection specific services and programmes. 



Child protection in emergencies refers to all efforts to prevent and respond to abuse, neglect, exploitation, and violence against children in the context of humanitarian crisis. It includes guaranteeing that children receive all the necessary humanitarian assistance required for their safety and well-being. UNRWA child protection work focuses on putting children at the center of the emergency response in the contexts where the Agency operates, ensuring that Education, Health, and Social Service interventions are designed to address the needs and preference of children and their families. 



UNRWA recognizes that coordination both internally and externally is key to the protection of Palestine refugee children. UNRWA is committed to re-enforcing the national child protection system in each of its fields of operations, engaging communities, and government counterparts as required and other child protection actorsUNRWA also works in close collaboration with UN agencies and NGOs through Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) coordination mechanisms that exist in its field of operations, for example the Child Protection Area of Responsibility, as well as Child Protection Working Groups. 


*Last updated: May 2024