The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) called on members of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to speak against the “2021-2022 Framework for Cooperation” signed between the United States and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) to resume funding for the Agency.
This came in an oral intervention delivered under Agenda Item 3 of the 48th regular session of the UNHRC in Geneva.
PRC urged member-states to pressurize the U.S. to deactivate the framework and work on safeguarding the rights of Palestinian refugees.
PRC expressed its firm condemnation of the Framework, saying the fact that it rather lays utmost emphasis on the US conditions to resume funding to the UNRWA gives the impression of guardianship or tutelage at a time when UNRWA struggles to keep its programmes running and delivering much needed assistance to vulnerable and marginalized Palestinian refugee communities.
PRC said the framework does not hide its deep-seated political and politicized nature as it obviously seeks to strip the Agency, including its educational program, of its national and local identity and to impose, using the cliched pretext of neutrality, a seemingly-standardized vision which will ultimately serve Israeli interests
PRC said UNRWA staff continue to provide quality output based on human rights and humanitarian values. Therefore, they should be treated with dignity and granted their personal freedoms, including the right to freedom of expression.
PRC added that by abiding by the conditions set forth in the US framework, UNRWA violates its principles of impartiality, shows a sign of unconcern towards millions of Palestine refugees that it serves in the region, and unravels a frailty in its assessment mechanisms.
PRC warned of the malevolent intentions and unilateral nature of the agreement, which will give way to ineligible parties to inspect and manipulate the agency’s humanitarian agenda in favor of pro-Israel schemes. The framework dovetails the ferocious politically-motivated campaigns that seek to ultimately erase the right of return of over 7 million Palestine refugees.
Earlier this year, the Biden administration said it plans to provide at least $235 million in U.S. aid to the Palestinians, restarting funding for the United Nations agency supporting refugees and restoring other assistance cut off by then-President Donald Trump.
Watch the statement here