April 12. 2024. 11:25

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European Commission will increase emergency support to Palestinians by EUR 68 million


The European Commission has decided to allocate an additional EUR 68 million to support the Palestinian population across the region to be implemented through international partners like the Red Cross and the Red Crescent. This comes in addition to the foreseen EUR 82 million of aid to be implemented through UNRWA in 2024, bringing the total to EUR 150 million. The Commission will proceed to paying EUR 50 million of the UNWRA envelope next week.

Furthermore, the Commission has allocated EUR 125 million of humanitarian aid for Palestinians for 2024. The Commission is contracting the first EUR 16 million today.

As set out on 29 January, the Commission has assessed its funding decision for UNRWA in light of the very serious allegations made on 24 January that implicate several UNRWA staff in the heinous 7 October attacks. It took account of the action taken by the UN and the commitments the Commission required from UNRWA.

The Commission welcomes the UN’s Office for Internal Oversight Services investigation to shed light into the serious allegations against UNRWA staff. Furthermore, it commends the UN for creating an independent Review Group led by Catherine Colonna to assess whether the Agency is doing everything within its power to ensure neutrality and respond to allegations of serious breaches.

Following exchanges with the Commission, UNRWA has also indicated that it stands ready to ensure that a review of its staff is carried out to confirm they did not participate in the attacks and that further controls are put in place to mitigate such risks in the future.

UNRWA has agreed to the launch of an audit of the Agency to be conducted by EU appointed external experts. This audit will review the control systems to prevent the possible involvement of its staff and assets in terrorist activities.

Finally, UNRWA agrees to the strengthening of its department of internal investigations and the governance surrounding it.

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UNRWA and the Commission have today confirmed their understanding on these points. On this basis, and following the exchange of letters with UNRWA confirming its commitments, the Commission will proceed disburse a first tranche of EUR 50 million out of the EUR 82 million foreseen for UNRWA for 2024.

The second and third tranches of EUR 16 million will be released in line with the implementation of this agreement.

Beyond its support to UNRWA, the Commission remains fully committed to addressing the humanitarian plight of the Palestinian people, particularly in Gaza but also more widely in the region. For this purpose, it will allocate an additional EUR 68 million for in 2024.

Background:

In line with sound financial management principles, the agreement with UNWRA foresees the possibility for the Commission to suspend or recover payments should credible information indicating significant deficiencies in the functioning of the internal control system come to light.

Photo by Emad El Byed on Unsplash

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