UNRWA cancels Gaza marathon after Hamas ban on women participation

UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees) staffer Gemma Connell runs in Beit Hanun on May 5, 2011 as she competes in the Gaza Strips first-ever marathon which runs the entire length of the coastal enclave. (AFP)

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) announced Monday it cancelled its third marathon following a disagreement with authorities in Gaza on women’s participation.

“This disappointing decision follows discussions with the authorities in Gaza who have insisted that no women should participate,” UNRWA said in a statement published on its website. “Registered participants who still wish to come to Gaza are welcome and UNRWA is working on a program of other events, which will be forwarded to those interested as soon as possible.”

The marathon, a 42-kilometer run along the coastline of the Gaza Strip, was to be held on April 10. It was organized to help finance UNRWA’s program of [fun summer activities][ http://www.unrwa.org/gazamarathon#2] for Gazan children.

Gaza is one of the most-densely populated cities in the world and known for its extreme poverty and ongoing conflict with Israeli authorities.

Last Update: Tuesday, 05 March 2013 KSA 11:21 - GMT 08:21