PHRF: UNRWA disregards lives of Palestinian refugees

[ 29/03/2011 – 10:25 AM ]


BEIRUT, (PIC)– The Palestinian Human Rights Foundation has condemned the UN Relief Works Agency for what it called ”disregard for the lives of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.”

The foundation called on UNRWA director in Lebanon Salvatore Lombardi to step down, ”as his time has only seen failure and misery to the Palestinians in Lebanon’s refugee camps.”

UNRWA needs a team of experienced professionals who can work with responsibility and conscience and avoid the patronage that has inflicted the structure of the agency in Lebanon and brought about the deaths of refugees at the hospital doors, the PHRF statement released Monday says.

Protests over the sharp decline in services UNRWA has offered Palestinian refugees increased this month at the agency’s headquarters in Lebanon when a child died after not receiving the proper medical attention he needed. UNRWA had refused to pay for medicines required by the child.

UNRWA’s policy of reducing its services in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon cannot be tolerated, the PHRF said, adding that ”patronage” and wide-spread ”corruption” had been sweeping the UNRWA under its present administration.

Separately, Hamas has asked UNRWA to return the subjects of Palestinian history and geography to its school in Lebanon refugee camps.

The subject had been removed from the syllabus in 1993 following the signing of the Oslo Accords.

Yasser Azzam, an official from Hamas’s refugees department, said in a statement that he had previously spoken with UNRWA director-general regarding the issue, and that he said the subject was removed for financial reasons.

But when the school year started, those talks were forgotten, Azzam said.

Hamas’s refugee department says it is ready to secure sponsors for the project but is waiting for UNRWA’s approval.


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