LINK 2007, the network of international solidarity and cooperation NGOs calls on the Italian government to review the suspension of funding to UNRWA, the United Nations Agency for Palestine Refugees.
Due to the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza and the urgent need underlined also by the recent ruling of the International Court of Justice in The Hague to guarantee access and implementation of humanitarian aid in the Strip area, the suspension of funding to UNRWA (the United Nations Agency for Palestine Refugees) announced by several donor governments, including Italy, is expected to have a very hard impact on the already exhausted population.
With around one million people displaced and sheltered in or near the 154 shelter centres set up by UNRWA, the Agency plays an irreplaceable role in ensuring access to essential goods such as food and drinking water. It should also be noted that, since the beginning of the conflict, UNRWA has paid an unprecedentedly high price, with 152 employees killed and 141 facilities damaged by shelling.
We address our appeal to the Italian Government and donor governments, asking them not to close their eyes to the tragedy of the people of Gaza and to insist on full respect for humanitarian principles and international humanitarian law.
Without minimising the absolute seriousness of the accusations against some UNRWA employees, on which the United Nations immediately launched an investigation and on which they are rightly adopting severe measures, we call for a rethink regarding the decision to suspend funds. Indeed, the decision appears disproportionate and wrong, because it affects those awaiting humanitarian aid in a situation whose gravity requires urgent action for the very survival of the people, starting with the many extremely vulnerable.