[ 19/07/2011 – 03:45 PM ]
GAZA, (PIC)– Gaza Health Minister Bassem Naim said that the UN Relief and Works Agency for the Palestinian refugees has begun to consider itself a substitute for the Palestinians and not an agent for them.
He said the reason for that is because the Palestinians have not developed a mechanism to monitor the body’s performance.
Naim, who also heads the government in Gaza’s UNRWA coordination committee, added that throughout the agency’s career over the past six decades, with operations in several Arab countries, UNRWA has not been actively monitored by the Arabs, but only by the UN General Assembly, which tasked it with supervising the affairs of the Palestinian refugees.
The statements came during a seminar staged by Hamas’s refugee affairs department weighing the mechanisms by which to monitor UNRWA’s operations.
The seminar was attended by representatives from several Palestinian factions and civil society organizations, as well as Palestinian thinkers and intellectuals.
Naim pointed out that there has been political extortion affecting UNRWA in order to exert more pressure on the Palestinians, adding that the reason why Arab and Palestinian governments have not been monitoring the agency is because it has undertaken the affairs of the Palestinian refugees, so it acts as the ultimate decision-maker in affairs related to its operations without consideration for the refugees themselves.
During the seminar, Naim made a focus on the decline of services that UNRWA has provided to the Palestinians, such as the addition of the ”human rights” curriculum without first coordinating with the Ministry of Education.
”No one denies the role of UNRWA in previous years when it stood by the Palestinians’ side; however, lack of coordination has turned the agency into a hostage for politics”.
For his part, Mueen Okel, who represented the popular committee for Palestinian refugees, called on UNRWA to restore its original title and logo, which included the words ”relief and works”, saying the move would give reassurance to the Palestinian refugees.
Okel pointed out that in addition to the decline in the agency’s services there was a marked decline in its achievements.