The swiss Pierre Krähenbühl, head of Unrwa, the UN agency on which they depend more than five million palestinian refugees, has resigned on Wednesday with immediate effect, as reported by the United Nations, in the framework of an investigation for “irregularities in management”. Unrwa is currently undergoing a serious financial crisis since last year following the cut in funds made available by the united States, ordered by president Donald Trump.

The mandate of Krähenbühl was in the tightrope from the past month of July, when he went out to the public a report reserved for the services of the internal affairs of the United Nations. The research reflected the “evidence credible and corroborated irregularities, nepotism and abuse of authority” on the part of the leadership of the agency. The UN has not detected the fraud or diversion of funds in the preliminary findings of the final investigation.

After that on the morning of Wednesday, Unrwa announced that Krähenbühl “was section temporarily of the charge”, while they were analyzed the allegations of irregularities, ethical, a spokesman for the UN secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, confirmed his resignation final at first time of the night. The british Christian Saunders, who was appointed deputy head of the agency last July, will play as of now, the tentative address.

Unrwa was created in 1949 by the United Nations to alleviate the consequences of the exodus of over 700,000 palestinians who left their homes and lands after the birth of the State of Israel. Currently it has registered more than five million refugees in the west bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Delivers humanitarian aid and provides essential services of education and health to the half of them. Some 30,000 people, palestinians, in their great majority, are employed by the agency.

Information channel Al Jazeera, and agence France Presse uncovered three months ago that Guterres had above his desk in December 2018 the results of a devastating internal investigation. The conclusions of the investigation drew attention to the “enormous risk they represented to the reputation of the UN,” the allegations and recommended that “taking into consideration the immediate dismissal” of the investigation.


The UN is investigating for abuse of power and nepotism at the agency for the palestinian refugees Trump cancels funds for the refugees in their strategy to pressure the palestinians

The circle of power of the Unrwa, an agency with headquarters in Jerusalem, it referred to the report included, in addition Krähenbühl, your primary counselor Maria Mohammedi. This close collaborator was promoted to this position in February of 2015 after having begun a romantic relationship with the head of the agency, who had agreed to the position a year before. As officer of external relations, Mohammedi had accompanied the commissioner-general on several trips in the previous months.

The internal investigation ensures that the plant staff of Unrwa had been established that the relationship between the two was “beyond professional”, which led to a “toxic atmosphere”. Krähenbühl happened then the greater part of the time out of his Jerusalem office and was accompanied by Mohammedi in their work-related travel. To do this he did not hesitate to exercise his authority in order to fly with him always in business class.

In the group investigated internally was also the former number two of the organization, Sandra Mitchell, suspected of having used his influence to provide a contract to your husband in a position for which, according to the report, was not sufficiently trained. Told allegedly with the collaboration of Hakam Shahwan, former executive director of the Unrwa. Both Mitchell as Shahwan resigned last summer, shortly before the airease the content of the report to the secretary-general.

The escalation of alleged abuses of authority coincided, according to the internal investigation of the UN, with the decision to Trump to suspend contributions to the agency, of which the US was until last year the main donor country. “The financial crisis served as an excuse to generate an extreme concentration of power in the high direction. They just skipped the rules and procedures established, and the exception became the rule,” noted the report.

Suspension of grants by the research

After learning of the content of the searches, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Belgium suspended their donations to Unrwa, which needs even a special contribution of $ 89 million (80 million euros) to complete its operating budget until the end of the year.

Israel took advantage of the waiver of Krähenbühl to reiterate his thesis that the model of the Unrwa is no longer viable and its management should be transferred to the Unhcr, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.m“must end with the idea futile the return of refugees, to increase transparency and to avoid the politicization of the agency,” summed up in a statement by the Foreign minister, Israel Katz.

From the Gaza strip, where two-thirds of its two million inhabitants are registered refugees at Unrwa, Hamas expressed its concern for the future of the agency that provided humanitarian aid, education and health. “The international mission of Unrwa is being attacked under the pressure of Israel and the united States,” warned a spokesman for the islamist movement that governs de facto from 12 years ago in the impoverished coastal enclave.

The General Assembly of the UN has pending to renew the mandate of the agency for the palestinian refugees the next June 30.


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