Gaza: Thousands Rally Against UNRWA Cutbacks

Gaza, MINA – Thousands of Palestinian refugees staged a protest rally on Tuesday morning against the UNRWA’s recent decisions to shrink its operations in the blockaded Gaza Strip.

“Don’t leave us face hunger” and “Conspiracy won’t pass” were among banners carried by protesters during the rally, which was organized by the High National Committee for Marches of Return and Breaking the Siege outside the agency’s headquarters in Gaza City.

“UNRWA is taking many steps against the refugees, such as decreasing operations, stopping employment and cutting a large number of aid services for the emergency, health and education programs,” Hussein Mansour, senior official of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), said in a speech before the protesters.

“These steps have been taken in conjunction with Israeli plans to dissolve the [UNRWA] as a witness to the Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe),” Mansour added.

Established in 1949, UNRWA provides critical aid to Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip, the occupied West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Last week, an UNRWA spokesman announced that the agency would not renew the contracts for more than 1,000 of its employees in Gaza.

The agency has also terminated its mental health program, which had employed roughly 430 staff members, according to the UNRWA employees’ union.

“UNRWA administration has rejected all proposals presented by the agency’s staff union and Palestinian factions to solve the problem of employees,” Mansour said.

He went on to warn the UN agency of escalating protests in the coming period “if it didn’t retreat from its decision.”(R/R04/RS5)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA) 

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