An internal ethics report has alleged mismanagement and abuses of authority at the highest levels of the special U.N. agency for Palestinian “refugees” one year after the Trump administration suspended a $125 million contribution to its work.
The allegations included in the confidential report by the agency’s ethics department are now being scrutinised by U.N. investigators.
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 reports.
AFP has seen the report which describes “credible and corroborated” allegations of serious ethical abuses, including involving UNRWA’s top official, Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl.
It alleges senior management have been 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.”
The report drew an immediate response from the U.S. Mission to the U.N.
— US Mission to the UN (@USUN) July 30, 2019
One senior official named in the report has left the organisation due to “inappropriate behaviour” linked to the investigation, UNRWA said, while another has resigned for what the agency called “personal reasons.”
UNRWA runs camps and projects for so-called Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. On its website UNRWA claims “5.1 million refugees” are “covered by our protection mandate,” purportedly including about 500,000 in Lebanon.
Over the years, it has been accused of supporting terrorism and teaching antisemitism to Palestinian children. In 2013, Breitbart News exposed a UNRWA summer program that was indoctrinating Palestinian children to hate Jews.
President Donald Trump and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley hinted previously funding could be withheld from the Palestinians, due to Palestinian leaders’ criticism of the administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and their refusal to resume peace negotiations.
They followed through with that last January and stopped all U.S. contributions to the agency.
Haley saw that decision vindicated by the new report:
This is Exactly why we stopped their funding:
Reports top officials of UNRWA engaged in “abuses of authority for personal gain, to suppress legitimate dissent and to otherwise achieve their personal objectives”.https://t.co/yBPc96AWvY
— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) July 29, 2019
UNRWA employs around 30,000 people, mostly Palestinians, and its U.N. mandate is set to be debated later this year.
AFP contributed to this report