Australia: Support the UNRWA

Dear Senator Penny Wong,
Minister for Foreign Affairs

I am writing as an Australian with a long-time concern for human rights. In this spirit, I respectfully urge you to please reverse the decision to temporarily pause disbursement of recent funding to UNRWA.

UNRWA is the largest humanitarian organisation in Gaza. Over 2 million people in Gaza depend on UNRWA for survival. Today, those people face unparalleled humanitarian catastrophe. This inhumane decision will deal a devastating blow to more than two million refugees in the occupied Gaza Strip

The decision was made following allegations that 12 UNRWA staff were involved in the 7 October attacks carried out by Hamas. These allegations are serious and must be independently investigated, and those responsible must be held accountable.

However, the alleged actions of individuals must not be used as a pretext for cutting off humanitarian aid in what could amount to collective punishment.

Norway, Spain, Ireland and Belgium have announced they will not suspend funding, recognizing the critical role that UNRWA continues to play in the distribution of humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling recently concluded that the survival of Palestinians in Gaza is at risk. In accordance with the ICJ’s ruling, and as a signatory to the Genocide Convention, Australia must do everything it can to prevent genocide. The ruling ordered ordering Israel to take immediate and effective measures to ensure the provision of humanitarian assistance to Palestinian civilians in Gaza as a step to prevent genocide.

I ask that Australia reverses the decision to temporarily pause disbursement of recent funding to UNRWA, and does everything it can to prevent genocide in Gaza, including calling on Israel to allow humanitarian aid to that sufficient humanitarian aid can reach the people of Gaza.

I await your kind response to hearing of what action you have taken.

Yours most respectfully,
Geoff Allshorn
Victoria, 3094, Australia