UNRWA as a global advocate for the protection of Palestinian refugees
On 15 October, the Flemish Department of Foreign Affairs held a debate on the role of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). On this occasion, Brigitte Herremans of Pax Christi Flanders gave a speech on UNRWA as a global advocate for the protection of Palestinian refugees.
Broederlijk Delen and Pax Christi Flanders have worked extensively on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict especially after Hamas took power over the Gaza Strip and Israel imposed a blockade. Brigitte Herremans explained how she worked regularly with John Ging, UNRWA’s former head of operations in Gaza. John Ging stressed the importance of providing security and safety to refugees.
By definition, refugees are inherently in need of protection because they are not protected in their state of nationality. The UNRWA’s provision of education, health, and relief services has always had a protection aspect. Despite the numerous challenges, the URNWA has managed to overcome the dichotomy between assistance and protection.
Read the complete speech here.