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In view of Protests Organized By UNRWA Employees, PCHR Calls for Giving Priority to the Interest of Refugees in the Gaza Strip PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 27 October 2011 11:30

Ref: 106/2011

 

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) has followed up with utmost concern the implications of the protest actions declared by UNRWA's Local Staff Union (LSU). These measures include work strike launched by LSU members because the UNRWA’s administration decided to suspend the work of LSU Director for three months. PCHR calls upon UNRWA and LSU in Gaza to find a just solution for this issue and give priority to the interests of refugees, especially children, in the Gaza Strip who receive education, health and social services. Approximately 218,297 children in 243 schools in the Gaza Strip are affected by these measures.

 

LSU has declared a series of work strikes and protest actions starting from today, 27 October 2011, until 03 November 2011, following the failure of negotiations between LSU and UNRWA’s administration in the Gaza Strip. In a press release, LSU stated that the new actions are aimed at exerting pressure on the UNRWA’s administration to find solutions for a number of outstanding problems, including the decision to suspend the work of LSU Director for three months. LSU accused UNRWA of rejecting a number of initiatives and propositions submitted to it by LSU, which included holding a meeting with UNRWA Commissioner General on Wednesday, 26 October 2011, to discuss a number of demands submitted by LSU, including cancellation of the decision to suspend the work of LSU Director for three months. LSU called upon its staff to escalate their protests based on a program as follows:

 

- Thursday, 27 October: A work strike by the staff in UNRWA regional office in Gaza and in the Training College in Gaza. 

- Sunday, 30 October: A work strike by the staff in UNRWA regional office in Gaza, the Training College in Gaza and Khan Yunis, Al Noor Centre for Blind Children and all UNRWA schools.

- Monday, 31 October: A comprehensive work strike in all institutions of UNRWA with no exceptions.

- Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 01 – 03 November: A work strike in UNRWA regional office, including the Training College in Gaza and Khan Yunis, and all UNRWA schools.

 

On 08 September 2011, the UNRWA’s administration informed Mr. Suheil al-Hendi, LSU Director in the Gaza Strip, of UNRWA's decision to suspend his work for three months allegedly for being engaged in political activities that contradicts with UNRWA's administrative regulations. On its part, LSU called for a series of protest actions at that time, and UNRWA employees implemented these actions in protest against this decision and the delay of implementing a number of demands of UNRWA employees in Gaza, including the issue of health insurance, payment of allowance to the persons who were employed to conduct the salaries survey, the issue of school supervisions, registrars at clinics and drivers, and discussing the issue of teachers' and workers' grades. Adnan Abu Hasna, UNRWA spokesman in Gaza, refused to give any information to a PCHR fieldworker this morning on UNRWA's position from the ongoing crisis.

 

PCHR notes that the right to form and join trade unions as guaranteed by the Palestinian Basic Law and international human rights standards.  This right includes the right to organize work strikes in accordance with regulating laws. PCHR calls upon UNRWA and LSU in the Gaza Strip to find a just solution and to give priority to the interests if refugees, especially children, who receive education, health and social services. The just solution should guarantee continued provision of health, environmental and social services by UNRWA.

 



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