UNRWA faces dire strain amid dismantling calls, funding freeze: spokesman-Xinhua

UNRWA faces dire strain amid dismantling calls, funding freeze: spokesman

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-02-24 05:20:00

UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is under severe strain, a UN spokesman said Friday.

"The agency has reached breaking point with Israel's repeated calls to dismantle UNRWA and the freezing of funding by donors," Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, reported from a letter by UNRWA's commissioner-general Philippe Lazzarini to the president of UN General Assembly.

The UNRWA chief's warning indicates a critical juncture for UNRWA which is tasked with aiding Palestinian refugees. "The agency's ability to fulfil the mandate given through General Assembly resolution 302 is now seriously threatened," Dujarric said. This precarious situation jeopardizes essential services for millions, underscoring the urgent need for supportive action.

Last month, the organization was rocked by Israel's accusations that 12 UNRWA employees were involved in the Oct. 7 attacks in southern Israel, carried out by Hamas. This led to several countries halting their contributions, amounting to approximately 440 million U.S. dollars, which represents nearly half of UNRWA's yearly funding. Currently, two UN inquiries are in progress to address these allegations.