United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres vowed on Sunday to hold “any UN staff member involved in terrorist attacks accountable” following allegations that some staff at the UN Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). to have been involved in Hamas attacks on Israel on October 7th.
However, Antonio Guterres called on governments to continue supporting the UN agency after many countries stopped funding it. “Any UN staff member involved in terrorist attacks will be held accountable for their actions, including criminal prosecution,” the UN secretary-general said in a statement. “The Secretariat stands ready to cooperate with a competent authority capable of prosecuting the individuals concerned in accordance with the Secretariat’s normal procedures on this matter.”
Israel-Hamas war: Did UN employees take part in the Hamas attacks against Israel on October 7th?
Antonio Guterres also said: “The tens of thousands of men and women who work for UNRWA, often in one of the most dangerous situations for humanitarian workers, should not be punished. The urgent needs of the population and the desperate people they serve must be met.”
The UN Secretary-General has revealed details of UNRWA staff involved in “allegedly heinous acts”. Of the 12 people involved, he said, nine contracts have been terminated, one has died and the identities of the final two are currently being determined.
Great Britain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Finland announced this Saturday a suspension of their funding to UNRWA following Israel's allegations. The US, Australia and Canada have already stopped funding the UN agency. “While I understand their concerns – I myself was appalled by these allegations – I urge the governments that have suspended their contributions to at least ensure the continuity of UNRWA operations,” said Antonio Guterres.