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UNRWA: schools in Palestinian camps are at risk of "occupation"

BEIRUT | - May 09, 2013, 11h57
Par Louise Wernvik
United Nations relief and works agency for Palestine refugees in the near east (UNRWA) have expressed concern about their schools in the camps being threatened by occupation for accommodation. The Palestinian refugees suffer from poor conditions and as thousands of Palestinian refugees are coming in from Syria, more housing solutions are needed.
Hoda Samra, UNRWA´s spokesperson in Lebanon, said that rumors have been circulating, in the camps, saying that some of the Palestine refugees, from Syria, are planning on taking over the school facilities and turning them into accommodation centers. Exactly who are placing the threat and how risky the situation really is, Samra will not comment on other than saying that she believes there is enough reason to worry.

When we asked her if rumours like this could contribute to feeding the stimatization of Syrian refugees, Samra underlined that UNRWA understands the problem and that the agency knows very well that there is a lack of accomodation. To highlight the importance of the schools, an open editorial letter by Mrs. Ann Dismorr, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, has been sent out to the media.

The editorial reads that UNRWA´s 69 schools “represent the only haven for Palestinian children to pursue education at all levels and enjoy recreational activities throughout the summer. However, this corner stone of our mandate would be under threat if some Palestinian Refugees from Syria turn them into accommodation centers as some have proposed. UNRWA recognizes that there is a significant lack of accommodation that must be met to the best extent possible, but there is no easy solution considering the magnitude of this humanitarian crisis and the influx of over forty thousand Palestine refugees from Syria.”

“I hope that all stakeholders, the parents of the children, the Palestine community and the refugees understand that the school premises are extremely needed. Without schools, we undermine the future of more than 30 000 children,” Samra said.
#Syrian_refugees, #Palestinian_refugees
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