PM Rishi Sunak Urged to Review UNRWA Funding Decision Amid Torture Allegations

PM Rishi Sunak Urged to Review UNRWA Funding Decision Amid Torture Allegations

London (Parliament News) – Rights groups urge UK PM Rishi Sunak to consider torture coercion in UNRWA funding. MPs demand immediate restoration of aid amid Gaza crisis.

Rights activist groups Freedom From Torture and Redress wrote to British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak presenting concerns over statements that the decision to discontinue funding for the United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) was established on evidence acquired by torture.

According to Middle East Eye, the UK government reported in late January that it was halting funding to UNRWA in the wake of Israeli allegations that the agency team were involved in the 7 October raids on southern Israel that saw hundreds massacred and taken hostage.

However, since then there has been reiterated criticism of both the potential effect on Palestinians impartial in the attacks and the lack of proof being cited for the decision. In February, the agency delivered a report in which it said that Palestinians freed into Gaza from captivity in Israel were forced into saying UNRWA staff had been entangled on 7 October through the usage of intense physical beatings, waterboarding and threats of harm to family members.

Call for the UK to Consider Torture Coercion in UNRWA Funding Decision

In an open letter dispatched on Friday, Freedom From Torture and Redress suggested Mr Sunak take into account the coercion applied to Palestinian detainees when evaluating its decision to restore funding to UNRWA.

They cautioned that failure to do so risks the country being witnessed as “condoning” torture.

“The absolute proscription on torture is a foundational norm of the rules-based international system, and the rule against the use of torture proof is both an essential component of the absolute prohibition and an important means of ensuring it is not violated,” stated the groups in the letter.

“At this critical moment, the UK must display principled global leadership and protect the credibility of its torture prevention efforts by ensuring that the prohibition is consistently upheld.”

They expressed independent monitors and lawyers should be permitted access to Palestinians in Israeli confinement facilities and that the government must “review the decision to suspend UK funding for UNRWA to ensure adherence with the UK’s obligation not to utilise evidence obtained via suffering or other ill-treatment as a foundation for formal decision-making and not to consent in torture by other states”.

MPs Demand Immediate Restoration of UNRWA Funding 

Last week, UK members of parliament asked the government to instantly restore funding to UNRWA amid widespread starvation and an unfolding famine in Gaza. In late March, 70 per cent of the residents were suffering from destructive levels of hunger, according to a recent UN-backed report. Over 50 MPs and members of the House of Lords insisted Foreign Secretary David Cameron reinstate grant for the agency “without delay”.

They also examined why the UK’s allies, including most recently Finland and Germany, had continued funding while the UK has not. Foreign Office officials have earlier suggested the conclusion would be composed on the basis of interim reports of two investigations, one instructed by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (UN OIOS) and another by an ex-French diplomat, Catherine Colonna.

However, the UK government has not driven clear publicly whether it has obtained the UN OIOS interim report, which other donor nations are understood to have acquired in early March. 

Daniele Naddei

Daniele Naddei is a journalist at Parliament News covering European affairs, was born in Naples on April 8, 1991. He also serves as the Director of the CentroSud24 newspaper. During the period from 2010 to 2013, Naddei completed an internship at the esteemed local radio station Radio Club 91. Subsequently, he became the author of a weekly magazine published by the Italian Volleyball Federation of Campania (FIPAV Campania), which led to his registration in the professional order of Journalists of Campania in early 2014, listed under publicists. From 2013 to 2018, he worked as a freelance photojournalist and cameraman for external services for Rai and various local entities, including TeleCapri, CapriEvent, and TLA. Additionally, between 2014 and 2017, Naddei collaborated full-time with various newspapers in Campania, both in print and online. During this period, he also resumed his role as Editor-in-Chief at Radio Club 91.
Naddei is actively involved as a press officer for several companies and is responsible for editing cultural and social events in the city through his association with the Medea Fattoria Sociale. This experience continued until 2021. Throughout these years, he hosted or collaborated on football sports programs for various local broadcasters, including TLA, TvLuna, TeleCapri, Radio Stonata, Radio Amore, and Radio Antenna Uno.
From 2016 to 2018, Naddei was employed as an editor at newspapers of national interest within the circuit, including Internazionale24, Salute24, and OggiScuola. Since 2019, Naddei has been one of the creators of the Rabona television program "Calcio è Passione," which has been broadcast on TeleCapri Sport since 2023.