Association Najdeh presented the results of the qualitative study on the impact of assessment of the current and potential health and educational reductions of UNRWA for Palestinian women and girls in Lebanon. The meeting was organized by Najdeh and with the attendance of the representatives of embassies and the European Union, local NGOs operating in the Palestinian field, political parties and popular committees in the Riviera Hotel, in Beirut.
The study, prepared and presented by Dr. Rebecca Roberts, focused on the situation of the Palestinian refugee women and girls in Lebanon and Palestinian refugees in Syria who rely mainly on UNRWA for basic services such as health and education. The restrictions on the right to work and the right to own property, and freedom of movement limits the ability of Palestinians to support themselves financially, in the absence of alternative and affordable health and education services outside UNRWA.
Roberts indicated that the funding for aid to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon is declining as the United States cuts funding completely for UNRWA, while organizations and NGOs are struggling to obtain funding to respond to the urgent needs of Palestinian refugees, especially after UNRWA responded to the financial crisis by reducing many of its services, such as university scholarships, vocational training courses, and the percentage covered by hospitalization, including delivery, health care facilities, available medicines and access to specialized doctors.
The study showed the impact of UNRWA education funding cuts on girls, who would have few opportunities for social integration after dropping out schools and would be kept at home to help with housework and face early marriage if families could not support them. Also, without education, illiterate women will have difficulty in daily life and access to their rights, will not have fair employment opportunities and girls will be more vulnerable to exploitation in low-wage jobs and difficult circumstances.
The study also showed that without UNRWA’s primary health care, women and girls will face health problems affecting them and their life in the period of giving birth, and the cost will lead to increased expenses for low-wage families and lack of access to appropriate medical assistance in case of complications. Children cannot access UNICEF vaccines, and many health conditions can contribute to violence and family problems.In terms of employment opportunities, they will become very few if UNRWA no longer exists. More than 3,000 Palestinian jobs, and more than half are occupied by women, will be lost. (UNRWA figures, January 2018). The study pointed out that organizations and NGOs complement UNRWA health and education services by providing home visits to patients, health education, some financial support for medical treatment, pre-school education, post-school and summer activities, psychological support, and support for persons with disabilities to reach UNRWA, and limited support for the elderly, but this cannot be a substitute for UNRWA and its services.
The study found that Palestinian women and girls in Lebanon, through UNRWA health and education services, were able to exert greater control over their lives and opportunities, while the lack of clarity about the financial crisis and the future of UNRWA increased the pressure on Palestinian refugees. Refugees, including women & girls, must be consulted about the services they need most and how changes affect their lives. This requires more effective collaboration between UNRWA and NGOs to determine how to maintain and improve health and education services and long-term planning for delivery of services and identification of challenges.
The participants stressed the importance of the study and highlighted the specific aspects in which Palestinian refugee women and girls in Lebanon could be affected by the cuts in education and health services, stressing the need to work together to face the increase of the potential reductions in 2019. Ms. Roberts also made several recommendations, most notably, the need to show the status of girls and women with disabilities in the study, in terms of education and health.
Researches were carried out from mid-January to mid-February through conducting focus groups in cooperation and coordination with a group of NGOs and organizations. The study covered girls and women aged 15 years and up to 60 years and more, in camps and gatherings in Lebanon, on official and specialized sectors that work with Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.
As part of ”Taalom” project supported by Right to Play organization, Psychosocial and Educational Support Program and kindergarten of the association Najdeh organized celebrations and recreational activities for children on the occasion of Christmas and the New Year. Activities included distributing gifts to children.
Right to Play’s TAALOM helps Syrian, Palestinian and host communities in Lebanon to address the impact of the Syrian refugee crisis.
On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the commemoration of the first intifada and the 69th anniversary of UNRWA, the Lebanese-Palestinian coalition for the right to work campaign for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon held a solidarity meeting at the Beirut Sons Committee quarters.
Within the meeting, speeches for representatives of the Committee, the coalition, and the Palestinian syndicate were given. The speakers called on the Lebanese State to approve the civil and social rights of the Palestinian refugees and to make non-discriminative laws especially in the right to work.
The speakers called for the continuation of actions, conferences and the adoption of a draft consolidated paper by the Lebanese and the Palestinians to be submitted to the Lebanese government for discussion and parliamentary legislation in order to support the Palestinian solidarity till their return.
With the support by of UNICEF and Medical Aid for Palestinians, Within the project of strengthening Community-Based Child Protection Gender Based Violence Intervention and Psycho-social Support in Palestinian Camps and Gatherings in Lebanon and the Right-to-Play “TAALOM” Project, Association Najdeh revived the “World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse ” over a week of November within its psychosocial centers and kindergartens in Beddawi, Nahr el Bared, Barr Elias, Baalbek, Saad Nayel, Ain Al-Helweh, Burj al-Barajneh, Rachidia, El-Buss and Shatila, through several activities that embodied the rejection of exploitation and violence and raising awareness of children about concepts of exploitation, abuse, violence, child protection procedures and rights..
Psycho-social centers in coordination with KGs conducted several activities; short film displays, handicrafts, educational activities, dialogue sessions about children’s rights, parents’ meetings, puppet theaters at UNRWA and local NGOs, marches for children in the camps holding posters from their own words about rejection of Exploitation, also raising awareness workshops, and murals.
Centers conducted final ceremonies, where short films about rights and protecting children from exploitation were displayed, children’s handicrafts and paintings through the week, musical, dancing and theatre plays by children, in the presence of parents, children and representatives from the local NGOs working in the camps.
Child protection networks in the camps with the support of Asmae – Association Sœur Emmanuelle organized activities and sessions within the Kid Power series, which focused on self-confidence, self-expression and opinion, as well as the protection of children from harassment.
Under the slogan of “My right to work is not naturalization” and on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the Lebanese – Palestinian Right to Work Campaign Coalition in the North organized a solidarity stand in the municipality of Bennin, with the participation of members of the local community, associations, Palestinian factions and the Palestinian People’s Committee from Nahr al-Bared and Beddawi camps.
The meeting started with the Mayor of Bennin, Dr. Kifah Kassar, who insisted during his speech on the strong relationships between the Lebanese and Palestinian peoples. The right to work and other rights are human rights granted by international covenants and agreements and divine laws. The Palestinians have a fair cause and they are active shareholders and their own thinking and thoughts, and if Lebanon invests in them, Lebanon’s situation will be changed to better and many economic problems will be solved.
Mr. Al-Kasaren spoke about the conspiracies being waived against the Palestinians and hoped that this symbolic and expressive visit by people of Baddawi and Al-Barad would let the politicians in Lebanon to have actions by legislate the rights of the Palestinians and pledged to support the Palestinian refugees in their rights.
The speech of the Lebanese – Palestinian Right to Work Campaign Coalition was presented by the coordinator of the campaign in Nahr al-Bared camp, Mr. Alaa Derawi spoke about the reason for the revival of the day of solidarity with the Palestinian people and the Palestinian struggle against historical injustice and talked about the seriousness of the stage which we are going through and the deal of the century.
Al Dirawi spoke about the interest and fate of the Lebanese and Palestinians involved in confronting these conspiracies and adhering to the right to work apart from the Palestinian internal conflicts until the implementation of Resolution 194.
Al Dirawi insists that the Palestinian aspires to live in dignity during the course of his struggle and therefore the right to work does not mean to demand resettlement, pointing out that the Palestinian is not a burden on the economy or compete with the Lebanese labor force, but they are contributors to the economic cycle.
At the end, Al Dirawi thanked the Mayor for his generous hospitality and support for the Palestinian people.
The event included a poem presentation in this occasion by the Poet and Good Intentions Ambassador Dr. Abdul Mohsen Mohammed.
On the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, at the invitation of the Lebanese – Palestinian Right to Work Campaign Coalition, Palestinian researcher Fathi Kulaib lectured on “Human Rights of Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon” at the Lebanese International University (LIU) Saida with the presence of the academic director of the university, Ahmed El-Haj, director of the Youth Institute for Development in Saida, Adnan Nofal, the coordinator of the right to work campaign in Saida Khaled Abu Sweid, and a number of faculty members and representatives of student organizations and youth and university students.
Mr. Kulaib began his speech by reviewing the conditions that led to November 29 a global day of solidarity with the Palestinian people and their national rights. “This day came within the framework of a series of political victories achieved by the Palestinian revolution and as a result of the great sacrifices made by the Palestinian people which resulted in an international interaction.
He pointed out that the policy of preventing the Palestinians from the right to work had siege the graduates who have university degrees and needs to find jobs in the market which doesn’t receive the Palestinians and prevent ownership and punitive measures that produced only unemployment and diseases.
He pointed out that the issue of the human rights of the Palestinian people in Lebanon is no longer tolerated and initiating any discussions and interpretations from here and there is not accepted. The economic and social conditions reached a dangerous level, the continuation of such status will lead to dangerous situation in the Palestinian society as a whole. At the end of the lecture, the University administration was honored and a shield was given to them which was received by Professor Ahmed Al-Haj and participated in the honoring event Mr. Adnan Nofal.
On the occasion of the International Solidarity Day with Palestinian People, the Lebanese – Palestinian Right to Work Campaign Coalition held a solidarity stand at the Institute with the participation of students, teachers and the administration of the Institute.
Mr. Hussein Khalifa, Director of the Al-Afak Institute, said that the solidarity with the Palestinian refugees and their suffering, especially the work and the discriminatory laws imposed on them, was emphasized. He stressed the unity of the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples and the full support of the refugees.
The Lebanese – Palestinian Right to Work Campaign Coalition’s speech presented by the coordinator of the RTW campaign in the Tyre Miss Laila Mousa, which confirmed that this day is an occasion for solidarity with us as a Palestinian people, pointing out that the United Nations by announcing on 29 November day as solidarity with the Palestinian people to emphasize the responsibility of the international community at political, moral and legal regarding Nakba Day for Palestinian people, which was accompanied by the resolution of partition No. 181, which divided Palestine into two states.
Miss Moussa asked the Lebanese authorities to lift restrictions on the right to work to let Palestinian people live in dignity and helps ensure the foundations of persistence until return back to Palestine, stressing that work is right and return is a right, and the Palestinian people will not compromise and give up those two rights.
On behalf of the coalition, Miss Moussa called on the international community to hold its responsibilities by realizing the right and end the occupation and return back to Palestine, which is occupied under the sight of the world.
Miss Moussa also thanked the director, students and students of Al Afak Institute for their solidarity with the Palestinian cause on this occasion.
The Women’s Rights Program organized an interactive meeting at Al-Jormok Secondary School in Saadnayel on the occasion of The “16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence”, under the slogan ” Make #her #special #but #do #not #discriminate #her”.
The “16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence” is an international campaign originating from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991. Participants chose the dates November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and December 10, International Human Rights Day, in order to symbolically emphasize that violence against women is a human rights violation.