Palestinians hold signs during a protest against aid cut, outside United Nations' offices in Gaza City January 17, 2018. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
GAZA CITY - 23 January 2018: Hundreds of school children in Gaza gathered with Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Pierre Krähenbühl to launch a global fundraising campaign.
The "Dignity Is Priceless" campaign follows the dramatic reduction of funding announced by the United States last week, the UN agency said in a press release on its website.
It aims to raise US$ 500 million.
"We are launching this campaign because UNRWA stands with you as witnesses to your historic plight," stated Krähenbühl during a press conference at an UNRWA school in Gaza.
"I wish to confirm to all Palestine refugees that UNRWA schools, proud schools like the one we are standing in, will remain open. Health care, and other services will be provided. It is a huge challenge, but it is absolutely imperative," he added.
This reduction in funding could have a significant impact on the daily lives of millions of vulnerable Palestine refugees across Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, and the West Bank including East Jerusalem, according to the statement.
At stake is access to basic education for 525,000 boys and girls at over 700 UNRWA schools; emergency food and cash assistance to 1.7 million extremely vulnerable Palestine refugees; access to primary health care for 3 million refugees, including pre-natal care,; dignity and human security for 5.3 million refugees who endured 70 years of injustice and uncertainty, said the press release.
The Commissioner-General reassured refugees that UNRWA’s mandate is firmly protected in the UN General Assembly.
"It is not for sale and was just extended by 167 countries," he said.
Krähenbühl urged "all people of good will, all institutions, members of the Palestinian diaspora, private companies, and foundations to join us."