Human rights group Amnesty urges EU to continue funding UN agency for Palestinian refugees

Human rights group Amnesty urges EU to continue funding UN agency for Palestinian refugees

UN agency ‘could run out of funding leading to closing its operation, should organization not receive EU funds as scheduled,’ Amnesty’s secretary general says in letter to EU Commission head

By Aysu Bicer

LONDON (AA) - Amnesty International on Thursday called on the EU to continue funding the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) amid the “humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.”

In a letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Amnesty’s Secretary General Agnes Callamard, said: I am writing to … urge you to ensure that these funds are allocated to UNRWA without delay to avoid exacerbating the suffering of over two million Palestinians in the occupied Gaza Strip.

She warned that UNRWA “could run out of funding leading to closing its operation, should the organization not receive EU funds as scheduled.”

"We recognize the gravity of the allegations raised by the Israeli government against 12 of UNRWA’s 30,000 staff members, 13,000 of whom are in Gaza, regarding” their alleged participation in Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack in Israel, Callamard said.

"We note UNRWA announcement that it has fired 10 of the staff concerned by these allegations, as the two others were killed in Israeli strikes. The UN Office of Internal Oversight has also opened an investigation into the allegations, and UN Secretary General launched an independent investigation into UNRWA," she added.

"All those accused must be subject to an effective, independent and transparent investigation, and those for whom there is proven evidence of responsibility for crimes under international law be held accountable in fair trials that adhere to international legal standards," the secretary general of Amnesty International said.

Israel has launched a deadly military offensive on the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7, 2023 attack by Palestinian group Hamas, which Tel Aviv said killed less than 1,200 people.

At least 30,035 Palestinians have since been killed and 70,457 others injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

Israel has also imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip, leaving its population, particularly residents of northern Gaza, on the verge of starvation.

The Israeli war has pushed 85% of Gaza’s population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

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