BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Right held its regular General Assembly meeting on 4 October. The main topics were administrative and financial reports, external risk factors and ongoing situations, in addition to electing a new board of directors.
The meeting started with an overview of the projects and the work completed and still in progress this year. The members discussed what has been accomplished and the difficulties encountered along the way; such as the impact of funding policies on BADIL and the civil society as a whole and the escalating attacks on and defunding of UNRWA.
A number of recommendations were made, the most important ones are listed below:
- There is a need to develop a unified position amongst Palestinian civil society organizations, in order to challenge the political policies and restrictions implemented by the international donor community and imposed onto local NGOs. These policies have a tremendous effect on the organizations, not only financially but also when it comes to implementation of successful projects. The main issues discussed were the categorical rejection of the conditions relating to the counter terrorism clause(s), the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement (BDS), and calling for the right of return for refugees and displaced persons to their original homes.
- To keep stressing the importance of the international responsibility towards maintaining UNRWA as an effective international body, by ensuring its core budget, improving its performance, closing the protection gap and expanding its mandate. The allegations of fraud and misconduct by top management should not be used by States as a pretext to cut and/or freeze their financial contribution to UNRWA’s budget. These politically motivated actions do not only cripple UNRWA’s capacity to fulfil its mandate, but also send a message that the Palestinian refugees are to be held accountable for the alleged misconduct, rather than those allegedly responsible. No matter what rank an UNRWA employee holds, it should never become a reason to punish the refugees, especially since such measures serve the American-Zionist campaign to end UNRWA and liquidate the refugee issue.
- The necessity of including the youth generation within the General Assembly and its Board of Directors. The focus should be on recruiting qualified and interested youth to be a part of it.
At the end of the meeting, BADIL thanked the members of the former Council before holding an election for a new committee. The new committee consists of some previous Board Members and some new. As always, BADIL’s General Assembly and Board of Directors is a diverse compilation of Palestinian civil society actors, human rights defenders, academics and experts from both sides of the Green Line and in exile.