115,000 Poor Families Unable to Meet Their Basic Needs: PCHR Demands Disbursing Social Affairs Dues to Beneficiaries
Date: 21 April 2021
Time: 09:30 GMT
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) follows up with deep concern the delayed disbursement of social affairs dues “Cash Transfer Program” (CTP) to 115,000 families who live in abject poverty and have become unable to meet their basic needs. PCHR calls upon the Palestinian government to uphold its responsibilities towards the poor and urgently disburse the first installment of 2021 dues for beneficiaries and to ensure regular release of funds in the future. PCHR calls upon the government to widen the Social Protection Programs’ outreach by increasing the number of beneficiaries, especially in light of the exceptional and emergency circumstances prevailing in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).
According to PCHR’s information, to date, the Ministry of Social Development (MoSD) has not released the first installment of the CTP dues for around 115,000 poor families, including 80,000 families living in the Gaza Strip, and 35,000 families living in the West Bank. Within the CTP, MoSD disburses financial assistance to the poorest people and persons with disabilities and has also allocated emergency aid to help those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Still, this aid did not cover all those in need, especially with the deterioration of living conditions in the Gaza Strip and the irregular disbursement of these dues (scheduled to be released on fixed dates every three months, 4 payments/year); aid payments were only released three times in 2020.
Non-disbursement of Social Affairs dues “CTP” has negatively affected the Palestinian poor in general, but it has been worse on Gaza’s poo, workers, low-income households and persons with disabilities due to the deterioration of living conditions resulting from the 14-year Israeli closure imposed on the Gaza Strip and the internal division. Naturally, the closure and the division became the main contributing factors to the increased unemployment rate in the Gaza Strip, currently at 45% (i.e. 217,100 unemployed workers) and resulted in a 53% poverty rate among its population. Meanwhile, more than 62.2% of the Gaza population suffer from food insecurity according to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The suffering of the Gaza Strip’s population has doubled, especially under the government-imposed restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus, including nighttime curfew and weekend shutdowns, suspension, or reduction of work in productive, industrial and craft sectors. As a result, many workers lost their sources of income and became unemployed, which aggravated their living and economic conditions as they became unable to provide for their families’ basic needs.
Over the past few days, the Gaza Strip witnessed several protests demanding disbursal of social affairs dues to its beneficiaries. Also, PCHR received dozens of appeals and complaints from citizens enrolled in the “Social Affairs Program,” demanding an intervention with the Palestinian Authority to ensure that their financial dues are disbursed regularly.
In light of its concern that the living conditions for the families enrolled in the “Social Affairs Program” might be subject to further deterioration, PCHR:
- Calls upon the Palestinian government to disburse social affairs dues to beneficiaries immediately, including all accrued dues;
- Calls upon the Palestinian government to fully adhere to fixed disbursement dates every three months as decided by the MoSD and known for all beneficiaries; and
- Calls upon the MoSD to increase the number of beneficiaries of the social affairs program, and emergency aid in the Gaza Strip, in order to ensure that citizens are protected and able to withstand the virus and its consequences.
For further information, please contact Dr. Fadel almzainy, Head of PCHR’s Economic and Social Rights Unit, at 0599306575 or at PCHR’s office +972 8 2844299