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Overwhelming victory for Islamists in UNRWA union elections

February 17, 2014 at 11:19 pm

The pro-Hamas bloc won an overwhelming victory in elections for workers’ unions at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza on Monday. The process was monitored by UN officials.

Although the UN has tried to curb Hamas’s influence among its employees, claimed Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, the Islamists won 25 of 27 seats up for grabs. More than 10,000 UN staffers took part in the vote.

In 2011, the UNRWA management sacked Sohail al-Hindi, who headed the winning bloc, for his popular activities connected to Hamas. He was reinstated after protests, including strike action, by unions at UNRWA.

Al-Hindi said that his new term of office will be to the advantage of UNRWA’s work and its employees in the Gaza Strip. He promised to respect the guidelines of the international agency, which is dedicated to provide vital services for Palestinian refugees.

Elections in the unions at UNRWA are renowned for their transparency as they are monitored by the agency itself, within an atmosphere appropriate for a free and fair process.