Christian Saunders named acting UNRWA Commissioner-General

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The UN Secretary-General’s office has appointed Christian Saunders as the Officer-In-Charge of the UN agency responsible for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA).

According to UNRWA, the UN Secretary-General’s office has announced that the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) has completed a part of the ongoing inquiry into UNRWA management-related matters.

The findings of OIOS revealed management issues which relate specifically to UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl, which has stepped aside until the completion of the process.


Over the last few months, UNRWA has initiated an internal review of its governance, management and accountability functions, so as to ensure it practices the highest standards of professionalism, transparency and efficiency.

The review revealed a number of areas which required strengthening, and the agency has already commenced corrective action and will be pursuing further initiatives and improvements over the coming months.

UNRWA said it is grateful for the critical support of UN member states and other partners around the world and is committed to ensuring donor funds are utilized in the most efficient and effective manner in support of the Agency’s critical mission.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called upon donors and partners to commit to the transfer critical funding payments to enable UNRWA to bridge its significant financial deficit and ensure it is able to carry out its unique and vital role in serving over 5.5 million Palestine refugees

In a later development, a UN spokesperson said Krahenbuhl submitted his resignation, effective immediately, hours after Guterres had placed him on "administrative leave."