Joint Statement by IASC Principals: We cannot abandon the people of Gaza

The world cannot abandon the people of Gaza.

NEW YORK/GENEVA/ROME, 30 January 2024 –The allegations of involvement of several UNRWA staff in the heinous attacks on Israel on 7 October are horrifying. As the Secretary-General has said, any UN employee involved in acts of terror will be held accountable. However, we must not prevent an entire organization from delivering on its mandate to serve people in desperate need.

The harrowing events that have been snowballing in Gaza since 7 October have left hundreds of thousands of people homeless and on the brink of famine. UNRWA, as the largest humanitarian organisation in Gaza, has been providing food, shelter and protection, even as its own staff members were being displaced and killed.

Decisions by various Member States to pause funds from UNRWA will have catastrophic consequences for the people of Gaza. No other entity has the capacity to deliver the scale and breadth of assistance that 2.2 million people in Gaza urgently need. We appeal for these decisions to be reconsidered.

UNRWA has announced a full, independent review of the organization, and the UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services has been activated. Withdrawing funds from UNRWA is perilous and would result in the collapse of the humanitarian system in Gaza, with far-reaching humanitarian and human rights consequences in the occupied Palestinian territory and across the region.

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