The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) was established pursuant to General Assembly resolution 302 (IV) of December 1949. The Agency is a subsidiary body of the Assembly and became operational on 1 May 1950, responding to the needs of about 750,000 Palestine refugees. It is one of the largest United Nations programmes, with a population of approximately 5 million registered Palestine refugees under its mandate and over 30,000 staff.
Internally, UNRWA is guided by its Gender Policy (2007), Medium-Term Strategy (2016-2021), and Gender Equality Strategy (2016-2021): 'Integrating Gender, Improving Services, Impacting Lives.' Further, UNRWA is guided by all relevant commitments by the UN system, including but not limited to: The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW); The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action; The United Nations Secretary-General’s campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women (UNiTE Campaign); and Sustainable Development Goal.
As part of the Agency's commitment to gender equality, UNRWA prioritizes targeted interventions based on identified field priorities, one of which is gender-based violence (GBV). Thus, in view of addressing GBV holistically, UNRWA adopted in 2009 a multisectoral approach, which was informed by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Guidelines for GBV in Humanitarian Settings. One of the core aspects of the multisectoral approach is the centrality of survivours’ rights and needs, such as ensuring access to adequate services, confidentiality and safety. UNRWA's approach to addressing GBV focused on four main areas: i) training UNRWA staff to identify, refer and provide support to GBV survivors; ii) developing referral pathways; iii) building partnerships with external service providers; and iv) raising awareness and involving Palestine Refugee communities in the protection from GBV, to enhance both response and prevention.
In 2014, UNRWA began working on addressing GBV in emergencies, based on increasing concerns on responding and mitigating GBV in the context of the conflicts in Syria and in Gaza. Building on this, a process for increasing the institutional capacity of the Agency to address GBV in emergency contexts started in 2015 through a multi-year programme entitled 'Building Safety', which included the development of the following key components: i) Guidelines for GBV Risk Mitigation in Emergencies (2017); ii) GBV Training Package (2018); iii) E-learning Course on GBV Risk Mitigation in Emergencies (2018); iv) GBV Prevention Framework (2017). Integral to the work on GBV in emergencies, UNRWA has also been working on enhancing community participation and engagement.
- UNRWA Gender Policy (2007)
- UNRWA Experience in GBV Programming: Lessons from the first five years (2015)- What’s at Stake Fact sheet (2018)
- UNRWA Gender Equality Strategy (2016-2021): Integrating Gender, Improving Services, Impacting Lives (2016)
- UNRWA GBV Prevention Framework (2017)
- UNRWA Guidelines for GBV risk-mitigation in emergencies (2017)
During the reporting period and among others for the 16 Days of Activism Against GBV Campaign, UNRWA organized hundreds of activities that were attended by 26,202 community members under the umbrella of the GBV Prevention View More
During the reporting period and among others for the 16 Days of Activism Against GBV Campaign, UNRWA organized hundreds of activities that were attended by 26,202 community members under the umbrella of the GBV Prevention Framework. As a result of theses activities 87 % of the participants felt comfortable promoting prevention of gender based violence.Hide
Building on previous work, UNRWA has developed GBV Roadmaps which are a tool to operationalize its GBV Prevention Framework through concrete activities and accompanying monitoring tools.
UNRWA, working with local NGOs and community-based structures and organizations, in addition to UN agencies at the field level, engages men, women, as well as youth and children in the awareness-raising activities through discussion groups and View More
UNRWA, working with local NGOs and community-based structures and organizations, in addition to UN agencies at the field level, engages men, women, as well as youth and children in the awareness-raising activities through discussion groups and support groups. UNRWA employs art, theatre and photography as a way of reaching out to the community and creating space for self-expression and support through different activities. During 2015, UNRWA was able to reach out to more than 30,000 community members including men, women, and youth to raise awareness on priority issues related to GBV according to field contexts, such as child marriage and domestic violence. Awareness-raising sessions and events also serve to increase community knowledge on available services.Hide
UNRWA has developed context-specific GBV prevention initiatives in all its five fields of operation (Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank), building on local partnerships and working with community structures. These initiatives have View More
UNRWA has developed context-specific GBV prevention initiatives in all its five fields of operation (Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank), building on local partnerships and working with community structures. These initiatives have focused on developing effective approaches to tackle root causes of GBV, addressing power imbalances and gender inequality and engaging communities in the effort to combat GBV. Progress has also been made in involving men and boys in awareness-raising activities and key services, such as involving men in preconception care and family planning counselling in UNRWA health centres.Hide
The UNRWA-supported Community Mental Health program in West Bank and Gaza continued psycho-educational workshops and lectures in all camps addressing topics such as sex education, equality between both sexes in the family, violence against women and children. The workshops targeted both women and men (whenever possible). In West Bank there is an ongoing program with 2 groups of male abusers.Hide
On International Women’s Day, UNRWA Lebanon Field Office organized, in collaboration with a Lebanese NGO “KAFA”, awareness-raising sessions on “Women and men united to end violence against women and girls”. UNRWA’s Women Program Centers organized sessions on the use of the CEDAW Convention and Human Rights tools in advocacy.Hide
UNWRA undertook awareness-raising on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, including gender-based violence, for refugee community members through Women Programme Centres. UNRWA’s Gaza Field Office undertook a gender equality initiative on domestic violence, including identifying prevention and protection measures through fostering understanding and discussion, and creating a radio station for and by women.Hide
In 2016, UNRWA has worked on the development of a GBV prevention framework which consists of two parts: the first provides a series of processes that need to be put in place to strengthen GBV prevention from an organisational perspective; the View More
In 2016, UNRWA has worked on the development of a GBV prevention framework which consists of two parts: the first provides a series of processes that need to be put in place to strengthen GBV prevention from an organisational perspective; the second part includes an outline of the key components/ steps in designing successful GBV prevention activities.Hide