Issued by BADIL Resource Center and the GPRN
Open Letter to UNSG:
UNRWA staff must not be burdened with the responsibility of the failure of the International Community
Dear Mr. António Guterres, the UN Secretary-General,
The situation between UNRWA and the Arab Staff Union (ASU)–West Bank has reached an alarming point and appears to be deteriorating. Not only are negotiations at an impasse, the UNRWA Director of West Bank Affairs - in his latest statement - went so far as to vilify and blame UNRWA’s Palestinian staff for the current situation and the lack of much needed services becoming unavailable to refugees. While understanding the financial difficulties UNRWA faces, under no circumstances should the ASU – whose membership is comprised of Palestinian refugees and their descendants - be held responsible for the failure of the international community to uphold their responsibilities in providing the resources for UNRWA to fulfil its mandate. This includes providing the financial resources that are necessary for maintaining the staff that is required for UNRWA to fulfil its services and ensuring the staff’s rights and dignity. Protecting and respecting UNRWA’s staff – whose efforts are indispensable to UNRWA and Palestinian refugees receiving those services - is an essential pillar in protecting UNRWA itself.
We, BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights and the Palestinian Global Refugee and Displaced Persons Network (GPRN)*:
- Support the legitimate demands of and steps taken by the ASU – strike and legal litigation – to achieve their rights and dignity.
- Reject the approach of ignoring, demonizing and holding the AUS responsible for the current situation by the UNRWA Director of West Bank Affairs and the Commissioner General.
- Call on the UNSG to notify the Commissioner General to stop threatening the ASU and engage in serious negotiations with the ASU under your auspice to ensure a quick and equitable solution to the current impasse
Return Is our Will and Our Right
*The GPRN is a network of 45 Palestinian community-based and grassroots organizations operating predominately in Palestinian refugee camps in the occupied Palestinian Territory, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, as well as Palestinian organizations inside the Green Line working with Palestinian internally displaced persons.