Troubled UN Agency for Palestinians Names New Deputy Head

02 Août, 2019, 09:59 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Troubled UN Agency for Palestinians Names New Deputy Head

The People's Republic of China (PRC) signed a contribution agreement for US$ 1 million with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in support of the Agency's food assistance activities in Gaza.

The UN's Office of Internal Oversight Services is now conducting an investigation into these allegations.

The agency now has a $1.2 billion annual budget to support more than five million Palestinian refugees in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Gaza and the West Bank.

UNRWA spokeswoman Tamara Alrifai said Thursday that "at present we are dealing with allegations not findings". Later, he was promoted to major departments at the UN.

At the pledging conference held on June 25, UNRWA expressed its gratitude for donations, some of which exceeded $110 million, while UN Secretary General António Guterres urged the global community to "rise to the challenge and empower UNRWA to continue its important and impressive work", according to an UNRWA press release.

The ethics report, copies of which have been seen by news agencies, details "credible and corroborated" allegations covering a number of ethical issues and "sexual misconduct, nepotism, retaliation, discrimination and other abuses of authority".

UNRWA's management has denied the allegations.

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Citing information from some 25 current and past UNRWA directors and staff, the ethics report said an "inner circle" comprising Krahenbuhl, his deputy Mitchell, Chief of Staff Hakam Shahwan and senior adviser Maria Mohammedi have bypassed normal decision-making processes and sidelined field and program directors and other senior staff. Shahwan also left UNRWA in July.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl said that the show of support from the UAE came "at a time of intense pressure on our agency". Both Mitchell and Langridge say they reject the accusations.

"UNRWA has removed itself from the values expected of an worldwide organization, and should not be rewarded for its internal corruption", he demanded. He added that it is likely to increase their suffering in light of the UNRWA financial crisis after the US President Donald Trump suspended the US government's $300 million contribution to the UNRWA budget in August 2018. He said commissioner-General Krahenbuhl "has been doing excellent work, but we are saying that without prejudice to the result of this investigation".

UNRWA said in response to questions that it "is probably among the most scrutinised United Nations agencies in view of the nature of the conflict and complex and politicised environment it is working in".

UNRWA was established by the United Nations in 1949 to provide relief to the 700,000 Palestinian refugees who were forcibly displaced during the 1948 Middle East war, which led to the creation of Israel.

He also highlighted the significance of the UNRWA and its role in aiding Palestinian refugees.

The report alleges that Krahenbuhl, who was appointed to lead UNRWA on March 30, 2014, started a relationship with Mohammedi late that year that "went beyond the professional", created "a toxic environment", and caused "frequent embarrassment".

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