UNRWA is a direct service provider to almost 2.5 million Palestine refugee children. They provide education, health, relief and social services. UNRWA is a duty bearer with a corresponding responsibility to the children it serves and who are placed under the Agency’s care.
Eliminating violence against children in UNRWA installations is essential to ensure that UNRWA delivers education and other services to children consistent with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other relevant international instruments and Agency commitments. In the past years, UNRWA has strengthened its work to protect Palestine refugee children. In 2009, UNRWA adopted a multi-sectoral approach to gender-based violence (GBV), and since then, the Agency’s work to address GBV has involved the establishment of referral pathways, training and capacity-building of staff, awareness-raising activities among Palestine refugee communities as well as prevention activities.
In 2011, UNRWA began to implement its Education Reform that aims to ensure support for both girls and boys through changed classroom and school practices with associated capacity building for education staff. Following the Education Department initiative, UNRWA Protection Division developed and launched the first Agency Child Protection Framework, which builds upon on-going work, reaffirms the Agency’s commitment to the protection of children and lays out the Agency’s approach, defining the three main pillars of interventions: commitment to child protection and advocating for the respect of child rights; safeguarding children; and child-sensitive service & programme delivery. In 2017, UNRWA developed an Agency-wide Strategic Framework Addressing Violence Affecting, and Involving, Children in UNRWA Installations and Services, with a focus on corporal punishment in schools.
The scope of the framework covers all the agency’s fields of operations and its staff, including the roles and responsibilities of UNRWA personnel that are providing assistance to, and in direct contact with, children. A particular focus will be on UNRWA schools, but the Strategic Framework covers all UNRWA installations in which violence against children can be an issue.