Statement from the Spokesperson of the UN Secretary-General on the OIOS investigation regarding allegations against UNRWA staff

26 April 2024

We have some information to share about the investigation by the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) into the allegations made by Israel that some staff members of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) were involved in the 7 October attacks.

OIOS has been investigating 19 UNRWA staff members – the 12 we were informed of in January, whose contracts were terminated by UNRWA, and 7 more that we have since received information about – five of them in March and two in April.

First, I want to talk about the initial group of 12 staffers.

Of that group, 8 staff members remain under OIOS investigation.

One case was closed, as no evidence was provided by Israel to support the allegations against the staff member. We are exploring corrective administrative action to be taken in that person’s case.

Also, three cases were suspended, as the information provided by Israel is not sufficient for OIOS to proceed with an investigation. UNRWA is considering what administrative action to take while they are under investigation.

Regarding the 7 cases that were brought to our attention since January, one case has also been suspended pending receipt of additional supporting evidence. The remaining six of those cases are currently under investigation by OIOS. 

OIOS has informed us that its investigators had travelled to Israel for discussions with the Israeli authorities and will undertake another visit during May.                  

These discussions are continuing and have so far been productive and have enabled progress on the investigations.

New York, 26 April 2024

 

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Background Information: 

UNRWA is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. The United Nations General Assembly established UNRWA in 1949 with a mandate to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to registered Palestine refugees in the Agency’s area of operations pending a just and lasting solution to their plight.

UNRWA operates in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, The Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. 

Tens of thousands of Palestine refugees who lost their homes and livelihoods due to the 1948 conflict continue to be displaced and in need of support, nearly 75 years on.

UNRWA helps Palestine Refugees achieve their full potential in human development through quality services it provides in education, health care, relief and social services, protection, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance, and emergency assistance. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions.

Your support is crucial to help us provide emergency aid 
to displaced families in Gaza

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