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Saturday, March 2, 2024

UN chief to convene with key donors to ensure continued support for Palestine refugees relief work


UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is scheduled to hold a meeting with key donors to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) on Tuesday to ensure continued support for relief work for Palestinian refugees, his spokesperson said Monday.

The UN chief has also engaged in discussions with the head of the Office of Internal Oversight Services, the highest investigative body within the UN system, spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said during the routine noon briefing Monday.

The discussions aimed to ensure the expeditious and effective execution of the investigation into allegations that several UNRWA personnel were implicated in the attacks that occurred on October 7 in Israel, he said.

“We have a process of accountability that is going on. While that is going on, people need to survive, and we need continued support for UNRWA and all our humanitarian work,” he said.

The secretary-general, while deeply troubled by the accusations, has a vital message for donors, particularly those who have suspended their contributions: “To at least guarantee the continuity of UNRWA’s operations, as we have tens of thousands of dedicated staff working throughout the region,” the spokesperson said.

“The dire needs of the desperate populations they serve must be met,” he stressed.

In addition to its operations in the Gaza Strip, UNRWA plays a crucial role in delivering humanitarian assistance to Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

Within the Gaza Strip, the agency is engaged in delivering life-saving aid to more than 2 million civilians, managing shelters for over 1 million individuals, and providing essential services such as food, water, and healthcare.

Also on Monday, a coalition of leading international aid agencies and NGOs jointly called upon countries that have suspended funding for UNRWA due to allegations of staff collusion “to reaffirm support for the vital work” carried out by the UN agency.

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