Hamas, UNRWA dispute over rights courses in school curriculum

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-2-12 9:58:35

Disputes between the Gaza Strip's ruling Islamist movement, Hamas, and the United Nations Relief and Work Agency have intensified after the latter included a course on human rights in school curriculum, officials said Tuesday.

Officials in the Hamas-run Ministry of Education strongly objected the new rights course, claiming that the agency took the decision without coordinating with Hamas authorities and that the course includes materials that contradict with the Palestinian culture and traditions.

Mo'tasem Minawi, the public information officer in the ministry, told Xinhua that the government objects to the course because the agency, also known as UNRWA, decided to include the curriculum without obtaining Hamas' approval.

Earlier, in 2012, the UNRWA expressed its desire to educate its students in the schools it runs in Gaza on the human rights, Minawi said, adding "a committee was formed to debate the issue, but the UNRWA has taken only 30 percent of the ministry's notes and recommendations."

"According to the Palestinian law, the UNRWA should abide with the curriculum that is taught in all Palestinian schools," said Minawi, who accused UNRWA of acting as a state inside another state."

Meanwhile, the UNRWA slammed Hamas government's objection and said it is completely committed to educating children in Palestinian society.

Adnan Abu Hansnah, UNRWA media advisor told Xinhua that UNRWA only taught courses approved by the Palestinian National Authority, adding "UNRWA doesn't have its own curriculum."

Abu Hasnah defended the course by saying that the UNRWA hasn't violated any laws or regulations.

The UNRWA in the Gaza Strip is in charge of educating around quarter a million Palestinian school children aged between 6 and 14 years old at 220 schools. All of the children are refugees living in refugee camps.

Hamas, which adopts moderate Islam and Islamic laws, won in the legislative elections held in the Palestinian territories in 2006. In June 2007, it violently seized control of the Gaza Strip and tried to impose an independent Islamic regime in the Gaza Strip isolated from other Palestinian territories in the West Bank.

Posted in: Mid-East

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