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A high-level Norwegian delegation visits UAWC

The Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC)  in Gaza Strip  received a high level delegation from the Kingdom of Norway represented by Mr. Finn Erik Thoresen, Board Chair of the Norwegian People’s Aid, and Ms. Mette Nord, General Director of the Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees, in addition to a number of other persons from both institutions.

The main goal of this field visit was to go over the latest developments and the situation in the Gaza Strip, especially in the agricultural sector; the tour included of several visits to projects that UAWC implements with the funding of Norwegian People’s Aid. 

The delegation was welcomed by a group of farmers from the eastern villages of Khan Yunis and UAWC’s volunteers and employees, led by the General Director of UAWC in Gaza Mr. Mohammad Al-Bakri, where he welcomed the delegation, presented an explanation about the reality of the agricultural sector and farmers in the area, and work priorities for the upcoming period; Mr. Bakri added that the problem is mainly political, which is the Israeli occupation and its constant violation of Palestinian’s rights. The delegation also listened to speeches and interventions by the Palestinian farmers, who thanked the Norwegian People’s Aid for their support to the Palestinian society; in addition, they thanked UAWC for the services they provide, appraising their efforts and great attention to the farmers’ needs and requirements.   

Moreover, the delegation visited the fishermen’s harbor in Rafah southern of the Gaza Strip, where they met a group of fishermen and were exposed to the problems which they face; the main obstacle which the fishermen face is the attacks of the Israeli occupation, and constant harassments of  its naval forces, which controls the determination of the fishing area, confiscates boats, and bullies and imprisons fishermen almost on a daily basis, the fishermen complained of the lack of support by the governmental authorities that are responsible for the fishermen.

In Addition, the delegation visited UAWC’s Development Center for Agricultural Guidance and Training in Khan Yunis, and was briefed about the latest preparations of the newly founded center; they also visited the first experiment of pineapple cultivation in the Gaza Strip.  

The delegation consisted of Mr. Finn Erik Thoresen, Board Chair, Mr. Atle Høie, Vice Chair, and Ms. Kathrine Raadim, Head of International Development, from the Norwegian People’s Aid; in addition to Ms. Mette Nord, General Director, Mr. Stein Guldbrandsen, member of the Executive Committee, and Ms. Erickson, Advisor, from the Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees.

The members of the delegation expressed their full solidarity with the farmers and fishermen, and promised to continue supporting them, and raising their voices and suffering outside the Gaza Strip. They also appraised UAWC’s efforts and concerns of the farmers and fishermen’s needs in the Strip.