Vetting of UN agency staff for pro-Hamas bias needs improving, report finds

Apr 23, 2024 by

by Samuel Lovett, Telegraph:

Independent review was commissioned after Israeli allegations that 12 UNRWA employees were involved in Oct 7 attacks.

The UN’s Palestinian refugee committee must improve its screening of staff for pro-Hamas sentiments, an independent review into the agency has said.

The review, led by Catherine Colonna, a former French foreign minister, said that Israel has yet to provide any evidence that employees of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) are members of Hamas and other terrorist organisations.

However, it added, the agency continues to face persistent “neutrality-related issues” despite having in place a “robust framework” for vetting staff. These include staff “publicly expressing political views” and UNRWA school textbooks featuring “problematic content”.

The report was commissioned by the UN in the wake of Israeli allegations that 12 UNRWA members of staff were involved in the Oct 7 attacks – a claim that prompted more than a dozen donors, including Britain, to suspend their funding to the agency in late January.

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