Date: 22 Feb 2021
ICSPR condemns the reduction of UNRWA food aid to the refugees through the unified food basket distribution system
The International Commission to Support Palestinians’ Rights (ICSPR) deplores UNRWA’s administration reduction of food aid to refugees through the unified food basket system for beneficiaries in the Gaza Strip, starting with the number one cycle of 2021, at a time when the Palestinian refugees are suffering tragic conditions, especially in the Gaza Strip due to the illegal Israeli occupation and siege, and the disastrous repercussions of the Coronavirus on various aspects of life.
According to the data available to ICSPR, the media advisor to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) Ahmed Abu Hasna, announced on Saturday, 20 February 2021, the start of the “unified food basket” system for all refugees benefiting from the agency’s aid in the Gaza Strip. In other words “there will be no yellow or white capon, but a unified white capon for everyone, starting with cycle No. 1 of the current year”.
In the same context, the Joint Committee for Refugees in the Gaza Strip announced the closure of a number of distribution centers, and the suspension of work in the governorates of Gaza from 7 a.m to 10 a.m. on Sunday 21 February 2021, the day of distributing the unified food basket for the first cycle, in a first protest step and a message to UNRWA management to withdraw this new reduction, especially since the recent UNRWA decision will deprive more than 770,000 Palestinian refugees of their right to receive the food ration.
ICSPR expresses its grave concern about the sudden decision issued by the UNRWA administration, which ignores the rights and interests of the Palestinian refugee community, in light of the escalation of poverty indicators, extreme poverty, absolute poverty and unemployment, including food insecurity for most of the families in the Gaza Strip. Therefore:
- ICSPR calls on the UNRWA administration to withdraw this decision immediately and without any conditions, especially since the issuance of the decision and its circumstances indicates a political background.
- ICSPR calls UNRWA to increase its programs, in quantity and quality, in line with the deterioration of the rights of Palestinian refugees in the various camps, and in a way that achieves the best interest of the refugees.
- ICSPR calls on the international community to work hard to ensure the continuity of the work of the international agency, and to bear the responsibility towards the Palestinian refugees until they return to their homes.
- ICSPR calls the United Nations General Assembly to draft a resolution to increase the fund for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and approve it to address UNRWA’s financial crisis, especially in light of the inhuman conditions that refugees live in all over the world.
- ICSPR supports all unions’ efforts and steps that would pressure the UNRWA administration until it reverses its last decision, and calls upon all to act quickly at all levels to support the demands of refugees and confront UNRWA’s liquidation plans as the last witness to the most heinous crime of forced displacement.