Palestinian activists form committee to watch UNRWA
A new watchdog committee made up of college professors and faction’s representatives has been launched in Gaza to monitor the performance of UNRWA the United Nations Refugees’ Agency.
The committee called UNRWA Watch accused the U.N agency of failing to fulfill its mission in the coastal enclave.
UNRWA was established by United Nations General Assembly resolution 302 to carry out direct relief and works programs for Palestine refugees.
Around 1.2 million refugees are registered in the Gaza Strip, comprising a quarter of the total number of registered Palestinian refugees. Palestinian refugees, who make up 70 percent of Gaza’s population, live in eight refugee camps in low standard of living and for many years have been dependent on UNRWA for basic services and jobs.
But refugees in Gaza say in recent years UNRWA services have been deteriorating.
Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, says Palestinian refugees today are the world’s longest suffering and largest refugee population.
60 years after its establishment UNRWA has come under scrutiny by many Palestinian refugees. Analysts say that the signing of the so-called Oslo peace accord between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel was the main reason for UNRWA’s shortcomings.
UNRWA has denied the accusations, saying it has continued to provides education, food and employment to Palestinian refugees.
In late July, UNRWA announced a plan to cut programming and food distribution in Gaza due to a budgetary deficit. The UN agency is funded by voluntary contributions from UN member states.