Palestinian refugees in Lebanon take to streets over UNRWA cuts

Published January 14th, 2016 - 06:00 GMT

Outraged Palestinian refugees in Lebanon took to the streets in Tripoli on Thursday to protest against UNRWA's decision to reduce the medical and educational services it supplies to the refugees due to lack of funds.

Hundreds participated in the protest that took place outside UNRWA’s building, carrying banners saying: "No to reduction of UNRWA services" and waving the Palestinian flag.

One of the demonstration's organizers warned that, "This demonstration is only the beginning of our fight against UNRWA's scandalous decision" and demanded the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, act in order to convince UNRWA's donor states to hold up their obligations.

Following UNRWA's decision, many schools will be closed, so the number of students per class will grow, making schools more crowded, and many teachers will be fired.

However, the main victims of the decision are people who suffer from chronic diseases that require hospitalization, since UNRWA will no longer finance their hospitalization.

The Palestinian uprising that started with general strikes in UNRWA's offices, schools and hospitals in all of the Lebanese refugee camps has escalated to violence. One man who suffered from Anemia lit himself on fire in protest of UNRWA’s refusal to continue financing his hospitalization expenses.

In a press statement released following the events, the Hamas movement claimed that "UNRWA’s decision to reduce services to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon is a crime and we must fight against it through peaceful means."

By Maayan Groisman

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