UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for the need to support the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), affirming that urgent measures would be taken after allegations of the involvement of employees in the Oct. 7 attacks.
Guterres said that the UN is taking swift action following the extremely serious allegations against several UNRWA staff members.
"An investigation by the UNs Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) was immediately activated," he added.
The UN had received information from the Israeli entity about allegations of the participation of 12 UNRWA employees in the Oct. 7 attacks.
The UN Secretary-General explained in a press statement: "Of the 12 people implicated, nine were immediately identified and terminated by the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini; one is confirmed dead, and the identity of the two others is being clarified."
Guterres affirmed that "Any UN employee involved in acts of terror will be held accountable, including through criminal prosecution. The Secretariat is ready to cooperate with a competent authority able to prosecute the individuals in line with the Secretariats normal procedures for such cooperation."
"Meanwhile, 2 million civilians in Gaza depend on critical aid from UNRWA for daily survival but UNRWAs current funding will not allow it to meet all requirements to support them in February," he indicated.
Nine countries announced the temporary suspension of their funding to UNRWA after these allegations.
"I understand their concerns I was myself horrified by these accusations - I strongly appeal to the governments that have suspended their contributions to, at least, guarantee the continuity of UNRWAs operations," Guterres said.
Guterres concluded in his press statement: "The abhorrent alleged acts of these staff members must have consequences. But the tens of thousands of men and women who work for UNRWA, many in some of the most dangerous situations for humanitarian workers, should not be penalized. The dire needs of the desperate populations they serve must be met."
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