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    Jordan, May 16, 2018
    UNRWA employees start hunger strike in Amman

    Seven employees of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) have started an open-ended hunger strike in the Jordanian capital Amman in protest at the organisation’s administrative procedures, which include increasing the costs of health insurance cover for them, their families and retired employees. The seven said that they will escalate their protest unless UNRWA cancels its “unfair” decisions.

    The employees issued a statement after a sit-in on Sunday in which they called on the UN coordinator in Jordan “to quickly intervene and restore the employees’ rights and not to leave the organisation’s decisions with one person only.”

    According to the statement, the financial cuts have caused UNRWA’s local employees to lose their sense of job security, reduced the number of local job opportunities, halted financial increases and introduced an unprecedented increase in the cost of health insurance policies for local staff.

    “There are many international bodies and many donors who have fulfilled their obligations to our institution,” the statement pointed out. “However, we are surprised that the agency’s administration continues to insist on solving its problems at the expense of the local staff.”

    Repeated statements by senior officials at UNRWA about the possibility of suspending the agency’s work is one of many things that caused the local employees to act. This has, they insist, had a negative impact on UNRWA’s performance, especially in light of the unfair regulations in the case of forced termination of employment contracts.