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Independent panel appointed to investigate UN agency supporting Palestinian refugees

by Derek Andrews
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UN Secretary-Normal António Guterres announced on Monday a assessment of whether or not the UN Reduction and Works Company for Palestinians within the Close to East (UNRWA) is “ensur[ing] neutrality” and correctly responding to allegations of doable breaches. The announcement got here after Israel accused UNRWA of involvement within the October 7 Hamas attacks. The accusation precipitated a number of international locations, together with the US, to halt funding to the company.

Guterres named Catherine Colonna, the previous Minister of Overseas Affairs of France, as the pinnacle of the impartial assessment group. Three “analysis organizations” primarily based in Denmark, Norway and Sweden may even take part.

The impartial assessment group will assess and make suggestions for enhancements in 4 main areas. First, the group will “establish the mechanisms and procedures that the Company presently has in place to make sure neutrality” and the way it responds to allegations of wrongdoing. Second, the group will contemplate how the company has used the procedures presently in place, “considering the actual operational, political and safety atmosphere wherein the Company works.” Third, the adequacy of present procedures shall be reviewed. Lastly, the assessment group will make suggestions for enhancements to present procedures and recommend various strategies if essential.

Guterres famous that the investigation comes at a time when UNRWA “is working underneath extraordinarily difficult circumstances to ship life-saving help to the two million folks within the Gaza Strip who rely upon it for his or her survival amidst one of many largest and most advanced humanitarian crises on the earth.” In line with a report by UNRWA, 75 p.c of Gaza’s inhabitants has been displaced. Moreover, the company claimed that 152 staff had been killed throughout the preventing.

Israeli Overseas Minister Israel Katz said on X (previously Twitter) that Israel deliberate on submitting proof to the assessment group “highlighting UNRWA’s ties to terrorism and its dangerous results on regional stability.” Katz additionally known as for the resignation of UNRWA Chairperson Philippe Lazzarini.

The assessment group is predicted to start work on February 14 and difficulty a last report in late April. The UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) is conducting a parallel investigation into allegations of the involvement of 12 UNRWA personnel within the assaults on Israel.

Source / Picture: jurist.org

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