The Ain Al-Khaleva refugee camp is currently the largest of 12 Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.
The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Lebanon, Imran Riza, said today that violence has erupted again in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, putting thousands of children at risk.
In Lebanon's largest refugee camp, Ein El Hilweh, clashes between rival factions have reportedly led to the displacement of thousands of refugees.
At the beginning of the new school year, armed groups occupied eight schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, leaving some 6,000 children without regular access to classrooms.
Safe and neutral space
"Educational institutions must be safe and neutral places, which are essential for children's learning, well-being and growth," Riza said. ”
He stressed that the occupation of schools by armed groups is not only a serious violation of international humanitarian law and human rights law, but also jeopardizes the future of entire communities.
Riza urged the armed groups to stop fighting in the camps and immediately withdraw from the schools, and called for the work of UNRWA and other humanitarian organizations to be facilitated in order to provide much-needed protection and assistance to families in need in the camps.
A history of brutal conflict
Founded in 1948, the Ain Haleva refugee camp, located near Saida, the main city and cultural center of southern Lebanon, is the largest of Lebanon's 12 refugee camps, housing more than 54,000 registered Palestine refugees.
In July, brutal clashes broke out in the camp, killing at least 13 people and injuring more than 60, including UNRWA staff, and forcing thousands to flee.
Two UNRWA schools were damaged during the conflict and their clinics were forced to suspend their services. After a tense ceasefire, the clinics reopened on 9 August.
The protection of civilians is a shared responsibility
In his statement, Riza stressed that it is a shared responsibility to protect civilians, including children, and to ensure that children can attend school safely.
"All relevant actors must act to protect civilians, facilitate unhindered access for humanitarian assistance, and prevent civilian infrastructure from being used for combat purposes," he said. ”