Funding suspension forcing UNRWA to halt all Gaza activities in weeks

The UN relief agency's commissioner-general reiterated the fund crunch means all aid and other activities in the Gaza Strip will cease in weeks

Commissioner-general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) Philippe Lazzarini, speaking here at a press conference in Amman, Jordan, on 14 November 2022 (photo: IANS)
Commissioner-general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) Philippe Lazzarini, speaking here at a press conference in Amman, Jordan, on 14 November 2022 (photo: IANS)
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IANS

Funding suspension would force UNRWA to halt all its activities in the conflict-ridden Gaza Strip in a few weeks, the UN relief agency's commissioner-general has said.

Philippe Lazzarini said on his social media X account on Sunday, 28 January, that the suspension decisions by various nations are 'regrettable' and stressed that the agency 'relies on the support of our partners to maintain our humanitarian response to two million people in Gaza and Palestinian refugees in the region'. His formal statement was attached.

The US, Canada, Britain, Germany, Australia, Finland and the Netherlands were among those who decided to pause funding to the UNRWA after Israel accused several UNRWA employees of suspected involvement in the 7 October Hamas attack, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Lazzarini had said at the time that he was "shocked" upon learning of the accusations against the UNRWA employees, adding that the agency had decided to "dismiss the employees concerned and to commence an investigation without delay".

"UNRWA is also implementing structural reforms to enhance the commitment of its staff to humanitarian principles, including the principle of neutrality, with independent experts responsible for assessing and deepening our efforts in this direction," he noted.

The UNRWA, established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1949, is tasked to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to Palestinian refugees registered in the agency's operational areas until a just and lasting solution to their plight is found.

On Sunday, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani condemned Israel's accusations against the UNRWA employees.

'The accusations hurled by Israel against some of the UNRWA staff members are another malicious act in completion of Israel's inhumane actions against Palestinians,' he was quoted as saying, in a statement published on the ministry's website.

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