Countries that suspend funds to UNRWA are fueling the ongoing genocide against Palestinians

Press release
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The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) is alarmed by the rapid and cascading decisions by some of the main donors to the UN Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) to suspend their funding. These retaliatory measures come in light of a recent Israeli intelligence report alleging that 12 members of the agency have participated in the 7 October 2023 attacks. This suspension is unjust and irresponsible, as millions of refugees in Gaza entirely depend on the help provided by UNRWA for mere survival.

30 January 2024. The disregard for international law and the fate of the Palestinians could not be more plain to see. FIDH condemns in the strongest terms the suspension of funds to UNRWA by some of its main donors. The United Nations (UN) Agency is leading the distribution of Humanitarian aid to Gaza, and this suspension could potentially mean the end for its operation in the enclave.

FIDH sees these decisions as retaliatory measures, which are conspicuously coming in the immediate days after the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Friday, 26 January, which ordered Israel to take "all measures within its power" to prevent acts that could amount to genocide against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Hopeful that this historic ruling would serve as a wake-up call, FIDH renewed its pleas to countries to immediately suspend financial aid and military assistance to Israel. However, in the days following the decision, the exact opposite occurred. The only concerted retaliatory effort taken by countries such as the United States of America (USA), United Kingdom (UK), France, Germany, Italy, Australia, and Canada has been to unanimously suspend their funding, not to Israel, but to the last lifeline for the Palestinians in Gaza.

"The suspension of funds to UNRWA equals to potentially condemning millions of Palestinian refugees to die of hunger and disease. This is complicity manifest to the ongoing genocide, and a totally baffling contravening of the ICJ’s decision", said Yosra Frawes, Head of FIDH’s North Africa and Middle East Desk.

"Suspending funds to UNRWA, which are key to Palestinian refugees in general but now more than ever essential for the population in Gaza, means allowing this genocide to continue. Palestinians have been asking states for accountability actions for years, we didn’t see them act so swiftly, we didn’t see most of them act at all at the serious crimes committed against the civilian population in Gaza", said Diana Alzeer, Vice-President of FIDH and representative of Al-Haq, one of FIDH member organisations in Palestine.

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