Independent Commission for Human Rights and Palestinian Civil Society Institutions Firmly Denounce Suspension of Aid to UNRWA by Various Countries

This post is also available in: العربية (Arabic)

The undersigned Palestinian institutions strongly denounce the announcement by several countries to suspend their aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), based on Israeli intelligence reports accusing some UNRWA workers of involvement in the October 7, 2023 attacks.

The inaction of these countries in the face of the occupation forces’ killing of over 130 UNRWA employees and the destruction of more than 140 of its facilities stands in stark contrast to their swift measures to withhold essential aid from hundreds of thousands of individuals. These measures are based on Israeli intelligence reports, which have not undergone independent verification. Even assuming the validity of these Israeli claims, it does not provide a valid reason for ceasing support to an agency that employs over 13,000 Palestinians in Gaza and provides services to millions of refugees.

The recent actions against UNRWA, coming notably within a day of the International Court of Justice’s ruling to expedite aid delivery to Gaza, appear to be more than mere coincidence. This timing seems to reveal a political motive focused on undermining and potentially dismantling UNRWA, an organization emblematic of the Palestinian refugee issue. In Gaza, where the need for humanitarian assistance is acute, UNRWA stands as the sole organization overseeing the reception, storage, and distribution of such aid. The decision to halt funding to UNRWA, under these circumstances, is a further escalation in the crime of genocide in Gaza.

It’s regrettable that UNRWA is succumbing to Israeli pressure and hastily making decisions to dismiss employees based on unverified Israeli claims about their involvement in the October 7 attacks, without listening to their side or examining the circumstances under which their confessions were made. It’s worth noting that all prisoners from the Gaza Strip are considered forcibly disappeared, as the occupation authorities prevent communication with them or provide any information about their detention locations. This is happening amidst disturbing reports of extreme torture and an unknown number of fatalities resulting from such harsh treatments.

It’s not a coincidence that most of the countries rushing to take this action have a history of genocide crimes. As the humanitarian needs in Gaza increase due to the Israeli military aggression, and as some of these countries supply weapons and political cover for this aggression, they choose to abandon their international legal responsibilities and impose collective punishment based on unproven Israeli allegations. Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz, who made these allegations, is among the Israeli officials who have worked to prevent the entry of food, water, and energy into Gaza and made statements considered by the International Court of Justice as incitement to genocide.

We demand that these countries reverse their decisions and fulfill their legal and humanitarian obligations towards Palestinian refugees and the people of Gaza who are facing genocide and starvation by the occupation authorities.

The National Human Rights Institution in Palestine

1. Palestine Independent Commission for Human Rights (PHROC Observer Member)

Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council )PHROC)

2. Palestine Independent Commission for Human Rights ( (Observer Member)

Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association

3. Al Mezan Center for Human Rights

4. Al-Haq, Law in the Service of Man

5. Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights “Hurryyat”

6. Defense for Children International – Palestine

7. Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center

8. Muwatin Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (Observer Member)

9. Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

Civil Society Organizations:

10. Non-Governmental Organizations Network (PNGO) – A coalition of 132 Palestinian civil society organizations

11. The Palestinian Youth Association for Leadership and Rights Activation (PYALARA)

12. The Palestinian Association for Empowerment and Local Development (REFORM)

13. The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy – MIFTAH

14. A.M. Qattan Foundation

15. AMAN: Coalition for Accountability and Integrity

16. The Civil Commission for the Independence of Judiciary and Rule of Law (ISTIQLAL)

17. Filastiniyat

18. Union of Palestinian Women Committees UPWC

19. Arab World Democracy and Electoral Monitor (AlMarsad)

20. Faisal Husseini Foundation

21. Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling WCLAC

22. MUSAWA- The Palestinian Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession

23. Bisan Center for Research and Development

24. The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA)

25. Women’s Studies Centre

26. Sharek youth Forum

27. Women’s Affairs Technical Committee

28. Teacher Creativity Center

29. Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC)

30. Human Rights and Democracy Media Center “SHAMS”