HomeUnited NationsLifesaving programmes in peril, UNRWA chief urges countries to reconsider funding suspension

Lifesaving programmes in peril, UNRWA chief urges countries to reconsider funding suspension

He also noted the immediate action UNRWA took by terminating the staffers’ contracts and asking for a transparent independent investigation.Nine countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany, have suspended funding to UNRWA following allegations that several Agency staff were involved in the 7 October terror attacks in southern Israel.“It would be immensely irresponsible to sanction an Agency and an entire community it serves because of allegations of criminal acts against some individuals, especially at a time of war, displacement and political crises in the region.”Mr. Lazzarini said that the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), the highest investigative body in the UN system, has already been seized of the matter.  Its programmes are all the more vital given the looming threat of famine in the war battered enclave.“The only way that this can be done is through cooperation with international partners, especially UNRWA as the largest humanitarian actor in Gaza,” he said.

Investigation will establish the facts

“The lives of people in Gaza depend on this support and so does regional stability,” he said.It was “shocking” to see the suspension of funds in reaction to allegations against a small group of staff, Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA Commissioner General, said in a statement.Mr. Lazzarini urged the countries that suspended their funding to re-consider their decisions before UNRWA is forced to suspend its humanitarian response.

Lives at stake

Over two million people in the Gaza Strip depend on the Agency for their survival. UNRWA runs shelters for over one million people and has been providing food and healthcare to civilians in dire need since the start of the conflict.“An investigation by OIOS into the heinous allegations will establish the facts,” he said.“Moreover, as I announced on 17 January, an independent review by external experts will help UNRWA strengthen its framework for the strict adherence of all staff to the humanitarian principles,” he added.Mr. Lazzarini cited Friday’s ruling from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that ordered Israel to take measures to enable humanitarian assistance for people in Gaza.


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