Hamas: UNRWA must stop working as political security apparatus

Hamas called on UNRWA to stop working as a political security apparatus after the organisation reprimanded staff for their political views.

“UNRWA employees express their opinions away from their workplaces,” a statement by the movement said yesterday. It stressed that the UN body, which is dedicated to helping Palestinian refugees, has to stop punishing its employees.

UNRWA’s leadership might have forgotten that this body was established to help Palestinian refugees and afford work opportunities for them. It might have forgotten that its reference is the UN not the donor countries.

Therefore, UNRWA, the statement added, has to be involved in carrying out its “humanitarian” mission instead of its involvement in politics.

Hamas’ statement also called for the UN to hold UNRWA officials accountable for their violations of “internationally guaranteed human rights”.

Recently, UNRWA interrogated 47 Palestinian refugees in Gaza and two others in Jordan and took disciplinary action against more than ten of them, including salary cuts, warnings and suspensions from work for one month.

The statement said that UNRWA interrogated the employees over their sentiments expressed on social media, noting that this is a form of “oppression” and “racism” and sides with the occupation.

In its statement, Hamas reminded the UNRWA of Article 19 of the UN Charter which guarantees freedom of expression regardless to political obstacles or geographical borders.

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