UNRWA chief calls on countries to reconsider their decision to suspend funding for lifesaving programmes.
UNRWA Commissioner General, Philippe Lazzarini, expressed his surprise at the suspension of funds in response to accusations against a few staff members, stating that it was “shocking.”
“It would be highly irresponsible to penalize an organization and its entire community for allegations of criminal behavior by a few individuals, particularly during a period of conflict, displacement, and political turmoil in the region.”
Mr. Lazzarini implored the nations that halted their financial support to reassess their choices before UNRWA is compelled to halt its efforts in providing aid.
He stated that the assistance provided is crucial for the well-being of individuals in Gaza and also for maintaining stability in the region.
He also mentioned that UNRWA acted promptly by terminating the contracts of the staff members and requesting an impartial and transparent investigation.
Nine nations, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany, have halted their financial support for UNRWA after accusations that some employees of the organization were connected to the terror attacks in southern Israel on October 7th.
Investigation will establish the facts
Mr. Lazzarini stated that the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), which is the top investigative organization within the UN, is already aware of the issue.
He stated that an inquiry conducted by OIOS will uncover the truth about the atrocious accusations.
“In addition, he stated that on 17 January, UNRWA will undergo an independent evaluation by outside specialists to enhance the organization’s structure and ensure that all employees strictly abide by humanitarian principles.”
Lives at stake
On Friday, Mr. Lazzarini referenced a decision from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) instructing Israel to facilitate humanitarian aid for individuals in Gaza.
He stated that the sole method to accomplish this task is by working together with global allies, particularly UNRWA which is the primary humanitarian organization in Gaza.
More than 2 million individuals in the Gaza Strip rely on the Agency for their sustenance. UNRWA manages shelters for more than 1 million people and has been offering nourishment and medical assistance to civilians facing extreme hardship since the beginning of the conflict.
Given the imminent danger of famine in the conflict-ridden area, its programs are even more crucial.
UNRWA was established by the UN General Assembly in 1949 with a mandate to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to registered Palestine refugees. In addition to the Gaza Strip, the Agency operates in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.