Islamabad, 29 January 2024 (TDI): Spokesperson for Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pakistan, in a statement today expressed that Pakistan is deeply concerned over the decision by some countries to suspend the funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
Highlighting the ongoing Palestinian issue the statement added that the timing of this suspension is deeply troubling as it takes place amidst the ongoing war, displacement, and suffering of the people of Gaza. These people depend on critical aid from UNRWA for their daily survival.
As the primary humanitarian agency in Gaza, UNRWA serves as a lifeline for over two million people, providing shelter and delivering vital food and primary healthcare services, even amidst the most intense hostilities.
In particular, the foreign office expressed its concerns that the decision to suspend funding in response to allegations against a small group of staff is unjustifiable.
Furthermore, it added that we agree with the Secretary General of the United Nations that UNRWA’s current funding would not be sufficient to meet all the requirements to support the Palestinian people over the next month.
It is, therefore, imperative to prioritize the continuity of UNRWA’s operations to sustain the survival of the people of Gaza.
Considering sensitivity of the situation Pakistan urges all countries that have suspended their funding for UNRWA to reconsider their decision to avoid suspension of the Agency’s humanitarian work.
Moreover, the Foreign Office emphasized that the lives of the people in Gaza hang in the balance and depend on this crucial support.
Statement of Commissioner General UNRWA
According to a statement from Commissioner General UNRWA, nine countries have temporarily suspended their funding to the agency. While expressing distress over the decision, it said that it threatens the ongoing humanitarian work across the region including and especially in the Gaza Strip.
The statement added that, it would be immensely irresponsible to sanction an Agency and an entire community it serves because of allegations of criminal acts against some individuals, especially at a time of war, displacement, and political crisis in the region.
Importantly, UNRWA shares the list of all its staff with host countries every year, including Israel. The Agency never received any concerns about the specific staff members.
Lastly, the Commissioner General urged countries who have suspended their funding to reconsider their decision before UNRWA is forced to suspend its humanitarian response. The lives of people in Gaza depend on this support and so does regional stability.