ITUC expresses concern over reduction of services to Palestinian refugees: "Children should not be victims of the decision"

Brussels, 13 August, 2015 (ITUC): The International Trade Union Confederation is deeply concerned about the recent measures announced by UNRWA, where the UN agency’s Commissioner-General decided to reduce the agency’s operations without referring to the UN General Assembly.

UNRWA, the UN agency caring for Palestinian refugees, said it might be forced to postpone the new school year that is supposed to start on August 16 and already decided to grant its employees unpaid leave for one year, due to shortfall of funds.

If the decision is implemented, more than 35,000 workers in the five territories that UNRWA operates in will lose their jobs, which in result will affect their families and have an economic and social impact on the host communities.

Although UNRWA went through similar crises over the past 65 years, this time the situation is alarming as more than 500,000 Palestinian refugees will be left out of school, affecting their future and right to education.

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the ITUC said: "The international community should support the Palestinian people and UNRWA should continue providing services to the Palestinian refugees as long as their problem exists". She added that ITUC also stands against any measure that will affect the lives and rights of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian workers and their families.