04 May 2012
A three-day sports event giving hundreds of Palestinian and Lebanese children some much-needed healthy and competitive fun was launched today in UNRWA’s training centre in Siblin, Lebanon.
Entitled “Palestiniadi”, the games event allows hundreds of Palestinian and Lebanese students from throughout the country to test their sporting skills in joint activities ranging from track racing and football to table tennis and chess. A cultural programme in the evenings supplements the daytime games.
The event was organised by UNRWA with the Italian organisation Sport Per Tutti, or UISP (Sport for All) with funding from the government of Italy. The event forms part of UNRWA’s EU-funded “Dignity For All” campaign, which aims to promote dialogue and solidarity between the Lebanese and Palestinian communities in Lebanon.
Speaking at the opening of the event today, UNRWA’s director of UNRWA affairs in Lebanon Salvatore Lombardo thanked the Italian government for its consistent support for UNRWA’s work with Palestine refugees.
“Palestiniadi gives Palestinian and Lebanese children a chance to interact in a healthy and constructive way”, Lombardo said.
“If they can compete and have fun together in dignity, they should be able to live together in dignity until a just solution is found to the plight of Palestine refugees.”
Italian Ambassador to Lebanon Guiseppe Morabito, also at the event, praised the initiative’s use of sports to promote peace and dialogue.
UNRWA in Lebanon
Around 455,000 refugees are registered with UNRWA in Lebanon, with many living in the country’s 12 refugee camps.
Palestine refugees make up an estimated ten per cent of Lebanon, a small country which is now densely populated.
Palestine refugees in Lebanon do not enjoy several basic human rights, for example, they do not have the right to work in as many as 20 professions. Palestine refugees are not formally citizens of another state, so they are not able to claim the same rights as other foreigners living and working in Lebanon.
UNRWA’s “Dignity for All” project, funded by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection office (ECHO), aims to change mutual perceptions between the Lebanese and Palestine refugee communities in Lebanon. The project has one key message: Palestinians are refugees in Lebanon, but they deserve to live in dignity until a just solution to their plight is found.
For more information about UNRWA’s work in Lebanon, click here.
The Italian government and UNRWA
This year, the Italian government has made possible a number of UNRWA’s projects in Lebanon, including the rehabilition of playgrounds in the Dbayeh and Shatila camps in Beirut and the construction of a gym in Rashidieh (Tyre).
In addition, the Italian Region of Puglia rehabilitated the sports area in El Buss camp (Tyre), the Municipality of Rome funded the rehabilitation of the playground in Ein El Hillweh camp (Saida), and the Italian Association UISP Sport Per Tutti rehabilitated the playground of Beddawi camp (Tripoli).
For further information please contact Hoda Samra, UNRWA Public information officer in Lebanon:
+961-70-010129 fax: +961-1-840468 or by e-mail: email@example.com.