Jerusalem, 17 April, 2017
The Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), Pierre Krähenbühl, met today in Ramallah with the Prime Minister of the State of Palestine, H.E. Dr. Rami Hamdallah.
The meeting addressed the rights and critical needs of Palestine Refugees in the West Bank including East Jerusalem, and Gaza. The Commissioner-General updated the Prime Minister on his recent visit to Aleppo, Syria and the situation of Palestine Refugees in Lebanon and Jordan.
Mr. Krähenbühl thanked the Prime Minister for the remarkable support from the Palestinian Authority during the recent consultation of Member States of the United Nations led by the Secretary-General, Mr António Guterres, on new ways to ensure improved financial sustainability of UNRWA.
The Commissioner-General stated “I am deeply grateful for the role of the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian Mission in New York, in support of UNRWA”.
The Prime Minister and Commissioner-General also reviewed the important issue of the curriculum being taught in UNRWA schools in light of recent public misrepresentations of the matter. Mr Krähenbühl clarified that, in conformity with its practice since the 1950s based on an agreement with UNESCO, UNRWA teaches host-country curricula in its schools. This includes the Palestinian Authority’s curriculum and the Commissioner-General clarified that UNRWA has no intention of changing this practice.
The Commissioner-General informed the Prime Minister that it has long been UNRWA’s practice to review newly issued textbooks and to produce enriching teaching material, which concerns a limited percentage of the content to ensure consistency with UN values and international agreements. This is done in dialogue with the Palestinian Authority, in particular the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, and in full recognition of the right of Palestinian students to learn about their identity, history and culture.
The Prime Minister and the Commissioner-General agreed to a follow-up meeting between UNRWA and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education. “The discussion with the Prime Minister was very important, reflecting the solid and constructive partnership between the Palestinian government and UNRWA,” Mr. Krähenbühl emphasized.