Amid ethics probe, UN appoints acting UNRWA deputy chief

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appoints a new acting deputy head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees and their descendants, whose top management is under investigation by the UN’s internal watchdog over allegations of abusing their authority.

Deputy Commissioner General Sandra Mitchell of the United States resigned in July and denied all allegations in a confidential report by the ethics office of the UN Relief and Works Agency, known as UNRWA.

The report, made public this week by AFP, claims the agency’s top management, including Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl, “have engaged in sexual misconduct, nepotism, retaliation, discrimination and other abuses of authority.”

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric says Guterres decided in coordination with Krahenbuhl to appoint Assistant Secretary-General Christian Saunders of the United Kingdom as the agency’s acting deputy commissioner general “to support UNRWA and ensure operational continuity.”

The UN Office of Internal Oversight Services is currently investigating allegations of misconduct in UNRWA, Dujarric says, and “the secretary-general is committed to acting, as appropriate, once he receives the findings and recommendations.”

— with AP

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