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Friday, May 07, 2010

UNRWA Secretary-General violates his own policies

UNRWA has policies that apply to its staff, listed in their Area Staff Regulations publication. These policies include:

REGULATION 1.4
Staff members shall conduct themselves at all times in a manner befitting their status as employees of the Agency. They shall not engage in any activity that is incompatible with the proper discharge of their duties with the Agency. They shall avoid any action and in particular any kind of public pronouncement which may adversely reflect on their status, or on the integrity, independence and impartiality which are required by that status. While they are not expected to give up their national sentiments or their political and religious convictions, they shall at all times bear in mind the reserve and tact incumbent upon them by reason of their employment with the Agency.

REGULATION 1.7
Staff members may exercise the right to vote but shall not engage in any political activity which is inconsistent with or might reflect upon the independence and impartiality required by their status.
Previous UNRWA head Karen Abu-Zayd has said "UNRWA is not involved in the political sphere," and indeed politics is not part of its mandate.

Of course, this is all a lie.

The latest example comes from John Ging, UNRWA Secretary-General, who on Wednesday said he supported the Free Gaza flotilla of ships that will be sailing towards Gaza later this month:
Ging, speaking with a Norwegian newspaper earlier in the week, urged the world to send ships to the shores of Gaza, saying "We believe that Israel will not intercept these vessels because the sea is open, and human rights organizations have been successful in similar previous operations proving that breaking the siege of Gaza is possible."
Urging nations to send ships to Gaza is as political a statement as any. He is advocating doing something against Israeli (and Egyptian) policies. He is saying that shipments to Gaza require no oversight as to their contents, something that the EU has disagreed with in the past by setting up the EUBAM monitoring station in Rafah before the Hamas coup. He is also evidently advocating the ability of Iran or Syria to freely ship weapons to Gaza, as opposed to the clandestine shipments they are already doing.

In addition, he is characterizing Free Gaza as a "human rights organization" which is again a lie - it is purely a political organization dedicated to pressuring Israel. In fact, Free Gaza has explicitly said that it is against sending humanitarian aid to Gaza and against UNRWA's style of aid by cooperating with Israel! They stated that they would rather spend money pressuring Israel than on goods for Gazans. This is not a human rights organization - they only exist for a political purpose.

UNRWA is not impartial at all, and John Ging has just proven it again.