UNRWA to Resume Services in South Lebanon after Row with Refugees
The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) said Sunday it will re-open schools and health centers in southern Lebanon it had closed two days ago after a row with refugees.
The agency said in a statement that its institutions will re-open on Monday in the southern region of Sidon.
"UNRWA installations in the Saida area have been closed down as from Friday by external entities, which aimed at the admission of about 20 overage student's secondary school," it explained.
"The agency found itself in the position of being unable to continue providing services any longer under these unacceptable conditions," it said.
UNRWA said the "same entities have now announced that UNRWA installations are going to be fully opened on Monday. UNRWA will therefore be in a position to continue providing normal services."
"The agency however regrets the forced closure of its installations and is confident that such kind of action will not be repeated," it said.
On Friday, UNRWA deputy director Daniel Deasy told AFP that the popular committees at the camp of Ain al-Helweh forced the closure of UNRWA institutions to protest a UNRWA decision to ban students over the age of 18 from attending its secondary school.
Deasy said UNRWA "decided to respond by ending all our services in the Sidon region until further notice, because we cannot accept that the committee takes such unilateral actions everytime they do not like what we are doing."
Adnan Rifai, a member of the Ain al-Helweh popular committee, however told AFP that the UNRWA decision came "in response to the burning of the United Nations flag by some Palestinians" during a demonstration on the same day.
Palestinian demonstrators had torched UN, US and Israeli flags and lashed out at the United Nations, accusing it of pro-Israeli bias.
Around 367,000 Palestinian refugees live in Lebanon -- BEIRUT (AFP)
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