After Hamas links allegations, UN Chief vows accountability for any staff involved in terrorism
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made a firm commitment to ensure accountability for any United Nations staff found involved in terrorist activities. This statement comes in the wake of allegations linking some employees of the UN refugee agency (UNRWA) to the Hamas attacks on Israel on October 7. “Any UN employee involved in acts of terror will be held accountable, including through criminal prosecution,” the UN chief said in a statement.
Guterres, in his first detailed comments on the matter, revealed that of the twelve UNRWA staff members implicated, nine had been dismissed, one was confirmed deceased, and the identities of the remaining two were under review.
Guterres clarified that the UN Secretariat is prepared to fully cooperate with any competent authority in prosecuting those involved, adhering to standard procedures for such cooperation.
Addressing the recent suspension of funding by nine countries, including the United States, Australia, Canada, Britain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Finland, Guterres acknowledged the severity of the accusations but strongly appealed for the continuation of support to UNRWA. This agency plays a pivotal role in providing aid to the people of Gaza.
In a separate statement, UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini expressed his concern over the potential impact of sanctioning the entire agency due to the alleged criminal acts of some individuals. He emphasized the irresponsibility of such actions, especially given the current context of war, displacement, and political crises in the region.