Senior UNRWA officials involved in “sexual misconduct, nepotism, retaliation, discrimination and other abuses of authority.”
A leaked internal report implicated top officials from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in a major corruption scandal including sex crimes and abuse of power. The UN agency’s ethics office described the charges as “an extremely grave and significant reputational, operational and security risk to the agency.”
The senior UNRWA officials were involved in “sexual misconduct, nepotism, retaliation, discrimination and other abuses of authority, for personal gain, to suppress legitimate dissent, and to otherwise achieve their personal objectives,” copy of the report obtained by the AFP news agency said.
In 2016, the Obama administration allocated $360 million to the agency, nearly a third of its billion-dollar budget.
That changed when President Donald Trump took office. The revelations are a vindication for President Donald Trump, who ended hundreds of millions of dollars worth of annual aid going to UNRWA. Trump’s State Department described the UN agency as “irredeemably flawed” while announcing its decision last August. Trump drastically slashed the budget in his first year in office before ultimately ending the aid the following year.
“This is Exactly why we stopped their funding,” former U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, wrote on Twitter.
— US Mission to the UN (@USUN) July 30, 2019
The news outlet Times of Israel reported the details of the ongoing investigations:
An internal ethics report has alleged mismanagement and abuses of authority at the highest levels of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees even as the organization faced an unprecedented crisis after US funding cuts.
The allegations included in the confidential report by the agency’s ethics department are now being scrutinized by UN investigators.
The agency — the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) — said it is cooperating fully with the investigation and that it cannot comment in detail because the probe is ongoing.
AFP has obtained a copy of the report, which describes “credible and corroborated” allegations of serious ethical abuses, including involving UNRWA’s top official, Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl.
It says the allegations include senior management engaging in “sexual misconduct, nepotism, retaliation, discrimination and other abuses of authority, for personal gain, to suppress legitimate dissent, and to otherwise achieve their personal objectives.”
One senior official named in the report has left the organization due to “inappropriate behavior” linked to the investigation, UNRWA said, while another has resigned for what the agency called “personal reasons.”
Given the severity of the charges, Switzerland, UNRWA’s other major donor, has frozen its payments. The agency’s Commissioner General, Pierre Krähenbühl, a Swiss national, has been personally accused of misappropriating funds, the news outlet Swiss Info reported.
“This is hardly surprising?” Arsen Ostrovsky, a noted Israel-based international human rights lawyer, tweeted. “UNRWA , after all, is one of the most corrupt UN bodies, unchecked, wasting donor money for terror and just perpetuating the Israeli – Palestinian conflict.”
We’re extremely concerned abt UNRWA allegations. We urge a full & transparent investigation by the UN. UNRWA’s model is broken/unsustainable & based on an endless expanding # of beneficiaries. Palestinians residing in refugee camps deserve much better. https://t.co/6oQn8jstyj
— Jason D. Greenblatt (@jdgreenblatt45) July 29, 2019
Legal Insurrection has repeatedly exposed the destructive role this so-called Palestinian relief agency plays in the region. As Professor William A. Jacobson wrote last year: “UNRWA is an anti-Israel organization which perpetuates Middle East conflict.” He further explained:
UNRWA does so primarily in two ways. First, it defines Palestinian refugees not only as those who fled during the Arab attempt to extinguish Israel’s 1948 birth, but also subsequent generations. This has created the political and legal myth that several million descendents of several hundred thousand refugees having a “right of return” to Israel. (…)
The second way in which UNRWA perpetuates the conflict is by teaching Palestinian children to hate Jews and Israel.
The mainstream media viciously attacked President Trump for cutting aid to the corrupt UN agency. The New York Times called it a “vengeful and short-sighted act.” Another Times headline mockingly asked: “Does Trump Knows what UNRWA Does?” The president’s “willingness to target UNRWA singles out Palestinian refugees and holds them, hostage,” the Washington Post concluded. Qatar-based Al Jazeera described the move as “Trump’s attempt to erase the Palestinian people.”
Israeli politician Dr. Einat Wilf explains UNRWA
The devastating revelations, discrediting the UN agency, are unlikely to end the billions of dollars going to its coffers. Despite the destructive role played by UNRWA, Western donor nations continue to fund the organization. After the U.S. severed ties with the agency, Germany and France have rushed to fill the financial shortfall created by Washington’s decision.
How does UNRWA ‘impact’ Palestinians and Israelis?
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