Palestinian refugee schoolgirls in Jordan pose for a photograph at an event marking their first day back to school at the Amman New Camp preparatory school, new Amman refugee camp (al-Wehdat refugee camp), Jordan, 2 September 2018. (Amel Pain/EPA/EFE)
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) joined the wider UN system in commemorating the International Human Rights Day and called for an end to inequalities and for the upholding of the human rights of Palestine refugees on an equal basis with others.
Themed ‘All Human, All Equal’, this year’s Human Rights Day focuses on addressing inequalities, advancing human rights and rebuilding better, fairer, greener. This also applies to Palestine refugees, who face many barriers to the enjoyment of their human rights, some painfully visible, others invisible but equally inflicting pain and suffering.
“2021 has been a particularly difficult year. Several layers of crises have continued to grip the region, from active conflict, tensions and political instability to the ongoing socio-economic impact of the pandemic. This has hit the most vulnerable and marginalized, in particular Palestine refugee children, women and men, the hardest,” the UNRWA Commissioner-General said.
The increasing prevalence of negative coping strategies that Palestine refugees everywhere are forced to resort to in order to survive because they are unable to meet their basic needs is of extreme concern to UNRWA. This includes reports of missed meals, gender-based violence, and child marriage and child labour, exacerbated by the increased isolation of already vulnerable groups such as the elderly and persons with disabilities.
“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. This universal value and right is not just an abstract phrase for Palestine refugees: We must look to the future and make this promise for freedom and equality a reality for all,” the Commissioner-General concluded. “A dignified life, including quality education, adequate health services and housing are all rights that UNRWA continues to advocate for and promote.”
UNRWA said closing the gap in inequality and opportunity for Palestine refugees is a commitment to leaving no one behind, to building back better and to honouring the inherent dignity of all human beings, regardless of their status, race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin.