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Over half a million girls and boys will go back to UNRWA schools for the new Scholastic Year 2019-2020

Over 700 schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Nea..

Over 700 schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) will open their doors in time for the new scholastic year 2019-2020 in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria within less than a month.

The steadfast support of UNRWA partners and donors is, once again, enabling the Agency to carry out its largest programme: education for more than half a million Palestine refugee boys and girls.

For nearly 70 years, UNRWA has preserved the right to education to Palestine refugee children and has provided inclusive and quality education, including during times of conflict, blockade and occupation, allowing 2.5 million students to graduate from its schools since 1950.

“Any child in the world should be preparing for a new school year these days, and so should Palestine refugee children,” said UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl. Access to education is a fundamental right and a pillar of our Agencys mandate. Quality education is at the heart of human development and the numerous achievers around the world who had attended UNRWA schools can tell thousands of stories about their years in UNRWA schools: we are extremely proud of them all.”

UNRWA operates 709 elementary and preparatory schools in its five fields of operation, including eight secondary schools in Lebanon, providing free basic education for over 530,000 Palestine refugee children. Pupils in UNRWA schools follow the host countries national curricula and textbooks, which the Agency enriches to encourage the development of critical thinking skills, empathy and tolerance.

“We are extremely grateful to our donors whose dedication to preserving the right to education has allowed us to announce today that all UNRWA schools in our five fields of operations will open,” added Krähenbühl. Many families will find deep reassurance knowing that their children will be in classrooms come September. The courage displayed every single day by our students in the pursuit of their education despite the challenges of having to cross check-points, live in areas of conflict or under occupation is an inspiration to us all.”

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA programme budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agencys programme budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.

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The Scottish Labour Party is in crisis, and the Westminster mothership isn’t helping

What the hell is happening to the Scottish Labour Party? Its crisis – this abject and sustained coll..

What the hell is happening to the Scottish Labour Party? Its crisis – this abject and sustained collapse into near-obsolescence – is real and deep and profound and not obviously fixable. The party at Holyrood is in the hands of third-raters, a sort of soupy Corbynite claque lacking even the nous and brains of a John McDonnell or a Seumas Milne. It is treated with contempt by the mothership at Westminster, and is undergoing a talent drain of significant proportions. The future looks bleak indeed.

The ongoing scrap over the partys position on a second independence referendum has only further exposed the lack of authority of its Scottish leaders. First, shadow chancellor McDonnell used an appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe to cause some shock and not a little outrage when he said the “English parliament” would not stand in the way of another indyref if Holyrood demanded one: “We would not block something like that. We would let the Scottish people decide. That's democracy. There are other views within the party but that's our view.”

The angry response from within the Scottish party, which has lost a sizeable chunk of its traditional vote to the SNP over the past decade, was not faked. Caught in a squeeze between the pro-separation Nationalists and the stridently pro-Union Conservatives, confusion over Labours position on the most controversial and hotly-debated issue in Scottish politics is seismically unhelpful. Having its position dictated by London is not a good look, either.

Richard Leonard, the Scottish leader, may have sought to correct McDonnell by restating his opposition to a second vote, but he quickly had the rug pulled from under him by Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn publicly backed McDonnells position and said that while he was “not in favour” of Scottish independence, “it's not up to parliament to block it”.

The calculation among Corbyn et al is as transparent as it is cynical. Whatever Labours route to power, it is likely to need the votes of the SNP to get there. Nicola Sturgeon has made positive noises about backing a Corbyn premiership, but her price is likely to be another independence referendum. The Labour leadership are clearly happy to sell their Scottish colleagues down the river if it gets them into No 10. The further suspicion is that they anyway hold no great attachment to the integrity of the UK, regarding its make-up as an imperial hangover. A united Ireland and an independent Scotland would mean an end to all that.

For some of us this merely confirms their gross unfitness for office, and while one can understand the SNPs position it would be hard to forgive Sturgeon, who has led a relatively moderate, centrist regime in Edinburgh, if she put the hard left into power at Westminster.

But ultimately this is Labours mess, and Labours doing. A former Blair-era cabinet minister had his head in his hands recently when discussing the state of the Scottish party. “I just dont know how we come back from this,” he said. Leonard has been a catastrophically poor choice of leader, nervy, pink-faced, lacking charisma, with no pitch to mainstream Scotland, unable to land a punch on either of the formidable women leading his main rivals. Even then, its not clear who could replace him and make much of a difference. Talent has scarpered from both the candidates list and even the parliamentary party – Kezia Dugdale, Leonards well-liked predecessor, who is still only 37, has quit Holyrood to run the John Smith Centre for Public Service at Glasgow University. If youre a bright, young thing looking to carve out a career for yourself in Scottish politics youd be advised to give Labour a miss.

As the next Holyrood election draws near, Labours only hope for a decent result in 2021 seems to rest on the possibility of the two main parties blowing themselves up. Early next year, Sturgeon must endure the trial of her mentor Alex Salmond, who faces charges of sexual misconduct, including attempted rape. Holyrood is reverberating to rumours that the First Minister will end up collateral damage in the case. “She may well be gone by March”, one senior SNP MSP told me. Meanwhile, Ruth Davidsons Conservatives have lost much of their momentum due to Brexit and the arrival of Boris Johnson in Downing Street, neRead More – Source

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