New York

06 November 2019

Note to Correspondents: On the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA)

The Secretary-General has received an investigation report from the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) relating to allegations against UNRWA’s Commissioner-General, Pierre Krähenbühl.
The preliminary findings of this OIOS report exclude fraud or misappropriation of operational funds by the Commissioner-General. There are, however, managerial issues that need to be addressed.
The Secretary-General has decided to place the Commissioner-General on administrative leave while those issues are further clarified so that a final determination can be made, and any appropriate action can be taken. 
The Secretary-General has designated Christian Saunders to act as the Officer-in-Charge of UNRWA in the intervening time, effective today, 6 November.  Mr Saunders will lead the implementation of a management plan to strengthen the Agency, particularly in the areas of oversight and accountability.
The Secretary-General expresses his appreciation to UNRWA for their excellent and dedicated work, which is essential to the well-being of Palestine refugees. He calls upon Member States and other partners to remain committed to UNRWA and its services. It is critical for the international community to support the crucial work performed by the Agency in the areas of health, education, and humanitarian assistance, which is a source of stability in a volatile region.