Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip have continued to stage protests outside the headquarters of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA) in Gaza in response to shortages and a lack of assistance, as well as the agency's decision "to change its name and role and to reduce its services". The agency is now officially known as the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees.
Yesterday, large vehicles were placed in front of the gates of UNWRA's Gaza headquarters to prevent the access of private staff vehicles to the compound. It is expected that protests will continue for some time.
The Agency's decision has sparked fierce criticism along with accusations of conspiracy against the rights of Palestinian refugees. It is feared that the agency name change and a reduction in the services it provides, which it has attributed to a budget deficit, heralds its intentions to relinquish some of its commitments to refugees in contravention of UN resolution 302.
Many Gazan refugees feel that this development, alongside a perceived mobilization against their cause and calls that a solution to it be found outside Palestine, underscores the fact that the agency does not want to provide assistance to Palestinian refugees, but is merely obliged to do so.
MEMO Photographer: Mohammed Asad