Gaza _ The Coalition for Accountability and Integrity –AMAN held a hearing for the Ministry of Social Affairs, represented by Hussam Abu El-Khair, Control Manager; OussamaSharf, Anti-Poverty Department Manager; and Jamal El-Khawaja, legal consultant. A large audience who had filed complaints with the Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre (ALAC) attended the hearing to voice their complaints about violations and contraventions occurring in assistance distribution. They stressed the need for those who unjustly exploit emergency allocations and relief to be held accountable.
This hearing was one of a series of meetings convened by AMAN with official entities, NGOs, and members of the public in the wake of hundreds of complaints submitted to AMAN following the last Israeli aggression, and as an integral part of the Clean Hands campaign (Delivering assistance to those who deserve it is our responsibility) launched by AMAN to promote the fair distribution of aid in Gaza. AMAN has concluded that the absence of uniform information and criteria for aid distribution opens up opportunities for violations and abuse.
A number of the attendants voiced their complaints about aid distribution. Ministry representatives responded to these complaints and acknowledged the importance of establishing criteria for aid distribution. The Ministry highlighted the pressing need to consolidate aid distribution efforts between the various sectors to avoid duplications in service delivery and, above all, to ensure justice.
Hussam Abu El-Khair explained that the goal of the Ministry during the aggression was primarily to provide relief institutions with the names and information on the injured. It concentrated on achieving this mission through an emergency committee and intense coordination with many bodies, but its efforts were hindered by several obstacles, the most serious of which was the difficulty of monitoring aid distribution in such circumstances.
OussamaSharef confirmed that the Ministry was concerned to apply principles of transparency and integrity to the aid distribution process. He also confirmed the readiness of the Ministry to respond to all the complaints filed with it, although he added that the public often misunderstands that the Ministry is not the one and only body providing assistance. Additionally, he referred to the negative impact of the political schism on a number of programs provided by the Ministry. For example, some programs implemented in the West Bank may not yet have been implemented in Gaza.
The Gaza office manager for AMAN, WaelBalousheh, stated that this type of hearing between official bodies and the public enhances government creditability. He confirmed that officials should serve the needs of citizens, and all bodies should shoulder their heavy responsibilities and promote the values of integrity, transparency, and accountability. The AMAN legal consultant, Baker El-Turkmany, stated that this first meeting between the public and officials would create an environment for dialogue and cooperation in relation to complaints. He affirmed AMAN’s persistent efforts to combat corruption in aid distribution and confirmed that coordination is taking place between AMAN, the Ministry of Social Affairs and several other relevant bodies to follow up complaints by the public.
AMAN has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Social Affairs to consolidate the follow-up of complaints by the public about aid distribution.
This Activity funded by EU