yellow shape
Lobby & Advocacy News

The passage of emergency aid during a humanitarian disaster is vital

Minister Van Leeuwen (BHOS) has frozen future contributions to the UN organisation United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). That has the minister decided after the accusations of Israel about the alleged involvement of collaborators of UNRWA in the horrific attacks on Israel on Oct. 7. It is justified that the UN has taken immediate action, and it is important that in-depth investigations into the allegations are conducted quickly. However, research in progress should not lead to a hasty decision to cut a lifeline for citizens. This decision comes at a time when the International Court of Justice has ordered immediate and effective action to ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza.

08 February 2024

Partos, just like a group of international humanitarian organisations, is concerned that the Netherlands and other donors have joined together to suspend funding for UNRWA, the main provider of aid to millions of Palestinians in Gaza and the region. This comes in the midst of a rapidly worsening humanitarian disaster in Gaza. Partos asks the Dutch government to commit to the passage of humanitarian aid to Gaza, the protection of humanitarian aid workers while they do their work, to respect the security and equality of both peoples and, in particular, to call for a cease-fire and release of all hostages. In whatever situation and however complex the conflict, aid workers must be enabled to do their work. It is a worrying development when donors stop access to emergency aid without waiting for the results of research.  

UNRWA will receive 19 million euros from the BHOS budget this year. That regular payment has already been transferred. The Netherlands is awaiting the results of the investigation. In the meantime, no more money will go to UNRWA, even with new requests, because of the situation there. The suspension of funding by donor countries will affect life-saving aid to more than two million civilians, more than half of them children, who depend on UNRWA aid in Gaza. The population is facing starvation and an outbreak of disease due to Israel’s continued bombing and denial of aid in Gaza. 

152 UNRWA staff members have been killed, and 145 UNRWA facilities have been damaged by bombings. UNRWA is the largest humanitarian organisation in Gaza, and their delivery of humanitarian aid cannot be replaced by other organisations working in Gaza. They play a major role in the chain of aid that organisations together provide to civilians in Gaza, including medical facilities, shelters, food distribution and communication systems. If the suspension of funding is not reversed, the already limited humanitarian aid in Gaza could completely collapse. We call on the Netherlands and other countries to review the suspension of this vital aid with great urgency. The vital work that humanitarian organisations do to help Palestinians survive must be allowed to continue.