UN votes to extend UNRWA’s mandate until 2023

WASHINGTON – The UN voted to extend the United Nations Relief and Works Agency’s (UNRWA) mandate until 2023, in addition to approving seven other pro-Palestinian resolutions on Friday. UNRWA was established 70 years ago to supply aid to Palestinian refugees. Its mandate is renewed every three years. The organization has come under scrutiny over the past few months and has been accused of corruption.

Israel and the US
were the only countries that voted against the resolution, with 169 voting in favor and nine abstentions. UNRWA has faced budgetary difficulties since last year when the US – its biggest donor – halted its $360 million of aid per year. The US and Israel have both accused the agency of mismanagement and anti-Israel incitement.”I appeal to all our partners and the membership to focus on enabling the agency to continue to implement its mandate on which Palestine refugees are dependent,” UNRWA‘s acting chief Christian Saunders said at the end of November during a debate before the Fourth Committee.Saunders replaced former UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl, who was among several top officials in the agency targeted by the probe conducted by the UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services.The OIOS said earlier this month that it found management issues regarding Krahenbuhl’s work. The UN has clarified that there is no suspicion of fraud. Krahenbuhl has denied any wrongdoing.Among the resolutions that the general assembly approved is one titled “Work of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories.” Another is “Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.” A resolution entitled “the Occupied Syrian Golan,” was co-sponsored by 22 states.

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Author: The Jerusalem Post