Two US senators demand UN terminate UNRWA commissioner

US Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Susan Collins (R-ME) called for the immediate termination of UNRWA Commissioner Philippe Lazzarini in a letter to UN Secretary General António Guterres, according to a statement from Rubio’s office. 

Rubio and Collins alleged Lazzarini allowed for Islamic militants and supporters to freely operate in UN assistance programs while holding extremist views against Israel. 

Rubio is the Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and Collins is the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations and Subcommittee on Defense.

“Of the 12 UNRWA individuals who took part in the October 7 attack, six have been identified as committing violent and barbaric acts against civilian women, children, elderly, and men,” Rubio said in the release. “It must be noted that the victims were not just Israeli civilians, but also included at least 200 citizens of other UN member states, including Argentina, Canada, China, France, Germany, Nepal, the Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

“Lazzarini’s lack of care or regard for these victims is a blatant disregard for the values that the UN claims to espouse.”

US Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks to reporters following a closed briefing for all senators to discuss the leak of classified US intelligence documents on the war in Ukraine, on Capitol Hill in Washington, US, April 19, 2023 (credit: REUTERS/AMANDA ANDRADE-RHOADES)

Lazzarini failed to root out antisemitism from UNRWA

Rubio said Lazzarini has never taken proactive steps to root out antisemitism from within UNRWA or hold pro-terrorist employees accountable, according to the release. 

In the letter to Guterres, Rubio and Collins said “the UN member states share an interest in ensuring such assistance is free of corruption, waste, and abuse. We urge you to immediately terminate Lazzarini’s employment.”

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