UNRWA is the principal humanitarian agency in Gaza, providing lifesaving services and humanitarian assistance to two million people. Withdrawal of the agency from Gaza must be avoided. This would have a catastrophic impact and would particularly affect the lives of children in Gaza, who rely on its services for survival.
In its ruling on 26 January the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered that “Israel must take immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance to address the adverse conditions of life faced by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip”.
The ICJ’s ruling and interim measures are aimed at protecting adults and children in Gaza from further suffering and irreparable harm. The ending of UNRWA’s vital services will undermine this objective by significantly reducing the scope for humanitarian assistance; conditions will worsen, and many more will die, including children.
All states, including the UK, should be doing everything in their power to support the ICJ’s ruling. This means ensuring that the vital services that UNRWA provides can continue at this time of profound crisis and suffering; alongside doing everything possible to ensure the immediate release and return of the Israeli hostages, many of whom are children.
The NEU calls on the UK Government to reverse its decision to suspend funding for UNRWA, the UN’s Relief and Works Agency for Palestine.