OIC chief calls for UNRWA funding surge in speech condemning Israeli aggression

JEDDAH: Countries around the world must increase funding to UNRWA in an effort to improve services for Palestinians and safeguard regional security, the head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has said.


Secretary-General Hissein Brahim Taha made the comments in an opening statement for the extraordinary session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, held at the organization’s headquarters in Jeddah on Tuesday.


He said that the organization is following donor countries’ suspension of UNRWA contributions with great concern. An increase of funding to UNRWA will confirm the international community’s commitment to protecting the rights of Palestinian refugees, he added.


In his statement, the OIC chief said that the meeting was being held in light of Israel’s aggression on Gaza.


He described the Israeli campaign as “violating all international standards, laws, and norms,” adding that the war had led to “horrific massacres, war crimes, and crimes against humanity,” including the recent killing of Palestinian civilians waiting to receive food aid.


“These crimes have so far claimed the lives of more than 30,000 Palestinian civilians, wounded nearly 70,000, most of them women and children, and displaced nearly 2 million Palestinians inside the Gaza Strip,” he said.

Israel’s occupation involves a systematic policy based on “siege, starvation, torture, arrest, killing, displacement, and indiscriminate destruction of infrastructure, housing, mosques, churches, hospitals, schools, universities, UN institutions, historical buildings and economic facilities,” the OIC chief said.


The Israeli campaign must be placed in the context of genocide and an attempt to uproot the Palestinian people from their land, he added.


Taha thanked participants, and praised the OIC member states that called for the meeting following the extraordinary Arab Islamic Summit hosted by Saudi Arabia in November 2023.


The Arab and Islamic ministerial contact group that was created at the 2023 summit has been successful in its efforts, Taha said. The council has influenced prominent countries, especially UN Security Council member states and international organizations.


A resolution passed at the November summit also urged the creation of a media monitoring unit, which Taha said had been activated. The OIC has also begun coordination with member states to activate a legal observatory that was established by resolution at the Saudi summit.


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