Press Release

As clashes resume in South Lebanon Palestine refugee camp, the ongoing takeover of UNRWA schools threatens children’s right to education

08 September 2023

An urgent call to stop the fighting and vacate the schools.

From the United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon, Mr. Imran Riza.

BEIRUT, 8 September 2023 – The continuing clashes in the Ein El-Hilweh Palestine Refugee Camp, along with the ongoing takeover of eight UNRWA schools, are preventing the access of nearly 6,000 children who are about to begin their school year.

Education institutions must be safe and neutral spaces, critical for children's learning, well-being, and growth. The use of armed groups of schools amounts to gross violations of both International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law endangering children's rights to a safe learning environment, and jeopardizing their future and the future of their community.

I urge armed groups to stop the fighting in the camp and vacate these schools immediately. I also call for the facilitation of the work of UNRWA and other humanitarian organisations to provide much-needed protection and assistance to families in need in the camp.

The protection of civilians, including children, and their access to school, safe from all forms of violence and exploitation, is a shared responsibility. All concerned actors must take action to protect civilians, facilitate unhindered humanitarian access, and prevent the use of civilian infrastructure for fighting purposes.    




For more information, please contact:

UNRWA:  Mr. Fadi Tayyar, Public Information Officer – UNRWA. Email: Phone: +961-70010129

United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon: Ms. Severine Rey, Head of Office - OCHA. E-mail:

Fadi El-Tayyar (UNRWA)

Fadi El-Tayyar

Public Information Officer
Kristen Knutson

Kristen Knutson

Acting Head of Office
Ms. Kristen Knutson has been the acting Head of Office for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Beirut, Lebanon since 29 January 2024. Kristen has more than 20 years of experience with the United Nations in the fields of humanitarian affairs and communications and has supported emergency response in many crises around the globe. Kristen holds a master’s degree in political science from the University of Minnesota, and she is a national of the United States of America.

UN entities involved in this initiative

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
United Nations Resident Coordinator Office
United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

Goals we are supporting through this initiative