UNRWA cancels 2013 Gaza Marathon

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Participants compete in the annual UN-sponsored marathon along the Gaza Strip (01/03/2012)

This year's Gaza marathon organized by the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) has been cancelled.

UNRWA says it regrets what it says is a 'disappointing decision" which was made following discussions with the authorities in Gaza who have insisted against women's participation in the event.

According to the agency, a total of 256 international runners had signed up so far, of which 119 are women.

Adnan Abu Hasna is UNRWA spokesman in Gaza.

"We, in UNRWA, are committed to the values and standards of the United Nations which stress on gender equality. That's why we can't adhere to this decision, which was very difficult on us. We're disappointed because this Marathon is a solidarity race with Gaza and it's also to raise money for the summer games which benefit more than 250 thousands children in Gaza."

For the past three years, the annual UNRWA Gaza Marathon has raised funds for the agency's summer programme for children in Gaza.

UNRWA says that registered participants who still wish to come to Gaza are welcome.

It adds that it is working on a programme of other events, which will be forwarded to those interested as soon as possible.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1'15"

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