Monday, 1 June 2020

Campaign response – UNRWA #70YEARSOFFAILURE

Thank you to constituents who have recently got in touch regarding the role of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

Since the UN’s inception 75 years, questions have always been raised about the effectiveness and accountability of its bodies and agencies.

It is vital that agencies like the UNRWA remain fit for purpose in the 21st centuries prioritises political impartiality. Many of the criticisms that have been directed at the UNRWA include its inflexibility, inability to adapt to the ever-changing political environment in the region, and refusal to transfer its responsibilities and authority to the Palestinian Authority.

The most serious of accusations directed at the agency relate to its alleged involvement with terrorists organisations and role in promoting antisemitism in the Palestinian education system.

These are very serious claims that the FCO will need to examine carefully before taking any action. If proven to be true, I agree with constituents that we need to look again at the RWA and the options available to reform and ensure that it is a fair and effective UN agency, including replacing it with a mission working under the rules of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

As a founding member of the UN at the end of WWII and a permanent member of the UN Security Council, the UK has always played a significant role within the organisation.

It is important that we use our influence and role for the good of the international community. I will certainly bear in mind constituents’ concerns about the UNRWA when I next meet with ministerial colleagues at the FCO, and I want to thank constituents again for taking the time to bring my attention to this matter.