World, Middle East

Hamas doubts graft charges against UNRWA

A controversial report by UN’s ethics section alleges misconduct at UNRWA, prompting Israel demanding defunding the agency

Yasser al-Banna   | 01.08.2019
 Hamas doubts graft charges against UNRWA

GAZA CITY, Palestine

The Palestinian resistance group Hamas has said that it will not tolerate corruption in the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), but cautioned against leveling such allegations.

Established in 1949, the UNRWA is engaged in relief and human development works, supporting more than five million registered Palestinian refugees.

A recent news report quoting a controversial document from the UN’s ethics department has alleged mismanagement and abuse of authority at the UNRWA, prompting Israel to ask the international community to defund the agency.

Basem Naim, a leading figure in Hamas, said Palestinians would not support any corruption charges. But, he cautioned against a prejudgment.

He said such an attitude of assumption serves the Israeli-American schemes, which aim to dismantle the UN agency’s efforts.

He reminded that the U.S. President Donald Trump had stopped funding of the agency last year.

Stressing that corrupt officials need to be held accountable, Naim rejected the use of the UN ethics report to target the Palestinian rights.

“These reports are published only weeks before the UN General Assembly’s voting on renewing the mandate of the UNRWA, scheduled on Sept 2019,” said the Hamas official, suspecting a foul play.

He also highlighted the significance of the UNRWA and its role in aiding Palestinian refugees.

Naim’s statement comes two days after the Swiss Foreign Ministry, announced that it was suspending its financial contributions to the UNRWA.

A Bern-based news agency SwissInfo said the ministry has conveyed this decision to the UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl.

*Bassel Barakat contributed to this report from Ankara

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