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UN Secretary-General urges nations to reconsider their decision to suspend UNRWA funding

Some Western countries decided to suspend their funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) following the allegations by Israel that some UNRWA employees were involved in the attack by Hamas on 7 October 2023. 

As a result, UN Secretary-General António Guterres issued a statement where he urged nations that have suspended funding the UN Agency to reconsider their decision. He emphasised the importance of maintaining the vital humanitarian activities that the Agency carries out.

Guterres addressed the seriousness of the allegations against the UNRWA personnel involved, assuring that the Office of the Internal Oversight Services is conducting an independent investigation. He affirmed that any UN employee linked to acts of terror will face accountability, including potential criminal prosecution, and expressed the Secretariat's readiness to collaborate with a competent prosecuting authority.

Among the 12 individuals that have been accused, 9 of them have already been identified and terminated. 

In the meantime, the need to continue the funding of the UNRWA is very strong. Over two million civilians rely on the Agency’s humanitarian aid, including shelters, food and healthcare. Therefore, the UNRWA’s operations must be able to continue. 

In his statement, António Guterres emphasized the need for consequences and penalties for alleged staff misconduct while stating that the majority of UNRWA personnel operating in challenging humanitarian conditions shall not be penalized. The needs of the Palestinian population must be served.