UNRWA Staff Stage General Strike in Gaza, Protest Scaling Down Operations

Published July 26th, 2018 - 02:00 GMT
Palestinians in Gaza gathered in front of UNRWA offices to protest the potential lay-off of around 1000 Palestinians employees (Twitter)
Palestinians in Gaza gathered in front of UNRWA offices to protest the potential lay-off of around 1000 Palestinians employees (Twitter)

Employees of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) staged a general strike in the Gaza Strip on Thursday to protest the agency’s recent decision to scale down its operations in the blockaded coastal enclave.

Organized by the UNRWA employees’ union, the strike saw UNRWA employees halt all work at the agency’s facilities in the Gaza Strip, including health clinics and relief centers.

UNRWA staff members also staged a protest inside the agency’s Gaza City office, where they called on UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl and UNRWA Operations Director in Gaza Matthias Shamali to reverse the cash-strapped agency’s downsizing plans.

On Wednesday, a UNRWA spokesman announced that the agency would not renew the contracts of more than 100 of its employees in Gaza. 

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

Established in 1949, UNRWA provides critical aid to Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. 

 

 

Earlier this year, the U.S. suspended over half of the annual funding -- $65 million out of $125 million -- earmarked for the refugee agency. 

The fund reduction came shortly after Palestinian leaders rejected Washington’s role in the peace process in retaliation for last year’s U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

 

This article has been adapted from its original source.


© Copyright Andolu Ajansi

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