Netherlands and Switzerland decided to suspend fundings to the agency over ethics report claiming that top officials acted "inappropriately."
The Netherlands and Switzerland have temporarily ceased their financial aid to the United Nations' agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), after the release of an ethics report revealing alleged mismanagement and abuse of power at the agency’s top levels.
"The Netherlands expressed to the U.N. in New York and to UNRWA its great concern and asked for clarification. The Netherlands is also in consultation with other donors," said the Dutch Ministry of Development Cooperation, Sigrid Kaag, in a statement to Al Jazeera, adding that he "would like to hear what steps the U.N. plans to take based on the outcome of the investigation."
Kaag explained he has taken the decision to delay his US$14.5 million year's contribution, until the reception of a “satisfactory response” from the international body.
"This decision is in line with how the Netherlands has dealt with other organizations when investigations have taken place, such as recently with UNEP and UNAIDS. The Netherlands hopes the situation will be resolved quickly, as UNRWA has an important humanitarian mandate to fulfill," the ministry's statement added.
For its part, the Swiss foreign ministry indicated that it had already made its annual contribution of US$22.5 million to UNRWA.
However, the country stated it was "suspending any additional contributions" to the agency until the U.N. investigators examine the ethics report and communicate their findings.
UNRWA CEO Pierre Krahenbuhl abused power, had affair with employee, flew her worldwide in Business Class.— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) July 30, 2019
Who funds this?
���� EU $179 Million
���� Germany $177M
���� UK $93M
���� Sweden $65M
���� Norway $36M
���� Swiss $28M
���� Canada $27M
���� Netherlands $23M
���� Spain $19M
���� Australia $16M pic.twitter.com/6YRpwkFKEZ
UNRWA spokesperson, Tamara al-Rifai said Wednesday that the organization "regrets" the decision of Switzerland and the Netherlands.
"There is an ongoing investigation concerning UNRWA, and nothing that is being disseminated or discussed are findings of the investigation, only allegations, and rumors," she added, demanding for the public to "wait for the actual conclusions of the investigation," and for the donors to "keep their funding in place" for the Palestinian refugees.
The agency is already in an economic crisis as a result of U.S. funding cuts.
The internal ethics report which was obtained earlier this week by AFP described a senior management team practicing “nepotism, retaliation, discrimination and other abuses of authority, for personal gain, to suppress legitimate dissent, and to otherwise achieve their personal objectives.”
The report was sent to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in December and an investigation was launched.
UNRWA was created in 1949 with the goal of supporting and protecting the Palestinian refugees who fled or were expelled from their homes in the aftermath of the 1948’s Nakba.
The agency works at providing education, health care, and social services to the refugees and their descendants. It employs about 30,000 people, mostly Palestinians, but it has been threatened with closure after the Trump administration decided to cut financial aid, slashing US$300 millions in annual donations in 2018.