Hundreds of staff of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) surrounded on Monday the office of Gaza’s director of operations and prevented him from leaving, protesting the policy of dismissal of the agency’s workers.
During the protest, demonstrators condemned the planned dismissals, which are part of an “emergency” plan, and called for the sacking of Matthias Shamali, UNRWA Operations Director in Gaza.
“UNRWA should find a solution to its financial problems that does not involve sacking employees,” Amir al-Mishal of the UNRWA Employees Union in Gaza said at the rally.
“If the crisis behind the reduction of UNRWA staff in Gaza is due to financial reasons, then, we can offer proposals and solutions to confront the crisis and prevent the dismissal of employees,” he continued.
He added: “But if the reason is political, we demand to be informed so we can resort to the street.”
“Dismissing several employees will ignite a crisis in the Gaza Strip,” Mishal warned.
He noted that UNRWA has recently discontinued its psychological health program, which had provided direct services for Palestinian refugees and had employed 430 workers.
According to the Union, UNRWA suspended more than four months ago temporary work contracts for dozens of engineers.
The UN agency has been suffering from a financial crisis caused by Washington’s decision to freeze $300 million of its $365 million in aid.
The United Nations says UNRWA needs $217 million, warning that the agency may have to cut its programs sharply, including food and medical aid.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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