Published 01/28/2024 15:09 | Edited 01/30/2024 12:01
The Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), Antonio Guterres, made this Sunday (28) an appeal for financial support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).
Great Britain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Finland joined the United States, Australia and Canada this Saturday (27) in suspending funding to the aid agency, an influential source of support for the population of Gaza.
“The tens of thousands of men and women who work for UNRWA, many of them in some of the most dangerous situations that exist in humanitarian work, should not be penalized,” Guterres appealed.
Israel accuses 12 agency employees of being involved in the attack by the Islamic group Hamas on October 7. Since then, several countries have suspended funding to the agency.
The accusation comes in the same week that the UN International Court of Justice ordered Israel to take all measures to prevent genocide in Gaza.
Guterres gave details about the UNRWA officials involved in the “alleged abominable acts”. Of the 12 people, he said, nine were fired, one was presumed dead and the identities of the other two were being ascertained.
“Any UN official involved in acts of terror will be held accountable, including through criminal prosecution,” the UN chief said in a statement. “The secretariat stands ready to cooperate with a competent authority capable of prosecuting individuals.”
“While I understand your concerns — I was horrified by these accusations — I strongly appeal to governments that have suspended their contributions to at least ensure the continued operations of UNRWA,” Guterres said.
In a statement this Saturday (27/01), Hamas denounced that Israel is engaged in a “campaign of incitement” against United Nations agencies that provide humanitarian aid to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
According to the Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera, the Palestinian resistance group stated that it was a “conspiracy” created by the Israeli authorities.
On Friday (26), the agency declared the opening of an investigation into employees of the agency itself who were allegedly involved in the Hamas offensive.
“Israeli authorities have provided UNHCR with information about the alleged involvement of several UNHCR officials in the horrific attacks on Israel on October 7,” said Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the East. Average. The representative also stated that he made the “decision to immediately terminate the contracts of these employees and launch an investigation in order to establish the truth”.