UNRWA condemns armed violence in Ein El-Hilweh

Press Statement
Christopher Gunness, UNRWA Spokesperson

UNRWA condemns armed violence in Ein El-Hilweh which has again prevented children from attending school and vital health services from operating

Ain Al HIlweh camp, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)

Ain Al HIlweh camp, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)

Jerusalem 22 December 2016: UNRWA strongly condemns the armed violence that took place in the Ein El Hilweh Palestine Refugee camp in Lebanon today and yesterday and calls for restraint.

Due to armed violence and increased risks to civilian lives, UNRWA has suspended all its operations in the camp and will continue to do so until further notice.

Violent incidents in Ein el-Hilweh continue to shock and frighten camp residents. They prevent children going to school and patients going to clinics; and they threaten the safety and security of civilians and their ability to access a range of services.

The education and wellbeing of more than 6000 children attending nine UNRWA schools in the camp have been impacted. Two health centres, serving the health needs of the Palestine refugee population in the Camp, have been forced to close temporarily.

This is the fourth time in the past month that UNRWA has been forced to close its services due to security incidents. Closures have occurred on 5, 7, 21 and 22 December.

We again call on all those involved to respect the rule of law, the sanctity of human life and to ensure the protection of Palestine refugees, particularly of children.

UNRWA also continues to urge all armed actors to respect the inviolability and neutrality of UNRWA premises in accordance with international law and to take all measures necessary to ensure the safety of UNRWA staff, students, Palestine refugees and installations.

UNRWA will continue to monitor developments and we will continue our dialogue with all relevant actors to advocate for the safety and dignity of Palestine refugees living in Ein el-Hilweh and to bring an end to the violence.