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PLO calls for UNRWA to respect Palestine gender equality norms

September 16, 2023 at 10:28 am

Outside view of the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s office in Washington, US on 10 September 2018 [Yasin Öztürk/Anadolu Agency]

The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and other Palestinian factions on Friday called for The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to respect the norms and religion of Palestinian refugees regarding its gender equality policy.

In a statement issued by the refugee department, the PLO rejected statements regarding sexual orientation and gender identity, denying UNRWA’s claim that this “exists among employees and refugees.”

At the same time, it pointed out that there is no consensus among the United Nations (UN) member states regarding the issues mentioned in UNRWA’s gender equality policy: “Therefore, UNRWA does not have the right to introduce them to the refugees and employees.”

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Islamic resistance movement Hamas called introducing such issues to Palestinian refugees “absolutely ridiculous” as the Palestinians do not have a gender crisis to have such disputed norms.

The PLO and Hamas stressed respecting the principles of international laws and conventions but reiterated the importance of respecting the: “Principles, values and Islamic rituals of Palestinian society.”

The PLO also condemned conditions set by some countries for resuming their donations to UNRWA, which relate to gender equality, anti-Semitism and changing school texts.

It called for UNRWA to concentrate on serving Palestinian refugees and not become involved in minor issues that do not benefit refugees.

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