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DRA Gaza Joint Response consortium statement on UNRWA

April 23rd, 2024

The Dutch Relief Alliance (DRA) Gaza Joint Response consortium, of which Terre des Hommes is a part, welcomes the findings and recommendations of the independent review on the adherence of United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) to the humanitarian principle of neutrality.

There is a lack of evidence supporting recent allegations against UNRWA staff


The review group, led by former French foreign minister Catherine Colonna, concludes that UNRWA has the most elaborate set of rules in place to ensure neutrality and that it is irreplaceable and indispensable to Palestinians in Gaza as a humanitarian lifeline. The review underscores the lack of evidence supporting recent allegations against UNRWA staff, reinforcing the necessity for due process and thorough investigation rather than precipitate judgments or actions. Colonna stated that she ‘strongly encourages “the international community to work side by side with the agency so it can perform its mission and overcome the challenges when they are there”.

Reliable partner

There is critical cooperation between the DRA Gaza Joint Response consortium and UNRWA in Gaza. We coordinate all our activities in schools and shelters through their focal points and UNRWA informs us of  locations and risk levels. UNRWA is considered the most trusted organization among the local communities. We receive  very reliable and timely  updates from UNRWA. For example, when UNRWA provides lifesaving services, such as supporting people in certain shelter areas with flour, they allow us to complement this with psychosocial support activities. Furthermore, UNRWA delivers fuel, which is essential for transportation of aid.

Call for resuming financial support

The DRA Gaza Joint Response consortium calls upon the Dutch government to resume their financial support to UNRWA and raise the contribution so that UNRWA can address the steeply increased humanitarian needs in Gaza. Without resumed or new funds, UNRWA will cease its operations as of June 2024, putting at risk not only the provision of humanitarian assistance to the people in Gaza, but also essential services that it makes available to around 4.8 million Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.

The Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation recently announced an additional 20 million euros for humanitarian support for Gaza. Given the threat of an imminent escalation in Rafah and increasing deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza according to OCHA, we urge the Minister to increase this amount and consider to allocate the greater part to UNWRA.


In addition, we call upon the international community to put pressure on the Israeli authorities to resume an effective cooperation with UNRWA and ensure that UNRWA staff has safe access to all areas in Gaza to deliver humanitarian support. The international community should support UNRWA in swift implementation of the recommendations to support UNRWA in fulfilling its mandate and restore confidence when needed, as stated in the report.

Cease fire

The DRA Gaza JR consortium calls upon the international community to urge all parties to agree to an immediate and permanent humanitarian cease fire that enables humanitarian assistance to be delivered in Gaza. This requires all parties to immediately pause the fighting and facilitate the provision of essential and life-saving relief assistance, including food, fuel, water, and medical supplies and care, as well as access and safety of humanitarian personnel into Gaza.

The DRA Gaza JR consortium strongly emphasises the responsibility of all parties to unequivocally uphold international law and prioritise the protection of all civilians to avert further suffering and loss of human life.

 Members of the Dutch Relief Alliance (DRA) Gaza Joint Response consortium: War Child (lead), CARE Nederland, Save the Children, Oxfam Novib, SOS Children’s Villages, Terre des Hommes

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