December 8, 2022

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New Zealand suspends funding to UNRWA

From IINZ:

New Zealand has now joined the Swiss, Dutch, and Belgium governments in suspending donations to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) following an internal report that found “credible and corroborated” allegations of serious ethical abuses including “sexual misconduct, nepotism, retaliation, discrimination and other abuses of authority, for personal gain, to suppress legitimate dissent, and to otherwise achieve their personal objectives.”
Originally, Foreign Minister Peters and officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) said
“We are aware of recent media reports of allegations of ethical issues and mismanagement within UNRWA. We expect UNRWA to cooperate fully with any investigation and to report back on the investigation’s findings and recommendations.”Rt Hon Winston Peters
However, after seeing a draft report from The Israel Institute of New Zealand (IINZ) that shows MFAT officials did not brief Ministers on substantial failings within UNRWA, did not record meetings where concerns about UNRWA were raised, and took the word of UNRWA officials without any apparent attempts at independent corroboration, MFAT responded that
“the Ministry will review the findings of the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) report once the investigation is complete and provide advice to the New Zealand Government. New Zealand will not make any further payments to UNRWA until we have reviewed the report’s findings and assessed UNRWA’s response to any recommendations.”MFAT staff
This is the first time New Zealand has suspended donations to the UN agency.
Over the past decade, New Zealand taxpayers have contributed more than NZ$10m to UNRWA and recently committed to giving $3m over the next years in a deal struck between MFAT and the UNRWA staff member at the centre of the current allegations, Pierre Krähenbühl.

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