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Jayapal, Carson, Raskin Call for Full UNRWA Funding

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), André Carson (IN-07), and Jamie Raskin (MD-08) are leading 47 Members of Congress in calling for full funding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to provide urgent humanitarian relief to Gaza.

“For decades, UNRWA has played a unique and integral role in supporting the welfare and survival of Palestinians,” said Congresswoman Jayapal. “Humanitarian aid in the region is already severely restricted. Prohibiting United States funding for this organization, which has been on the frontlines of conflict in Gaza, is especially irresponsible and unacceptable given our country’s historic role as the largest contributor to UNRWA. There is no question in my mind that revoking funding for UNRWA will lead to more devastation and loss of life in Gaza. Anyone involved in the planning of the October 7th terrorist attack must be held accountable and I’m glad to see an independent investigation into allegations against the small number of UNRWA employees. We must ensure though that those acting in good faith to save civilian lives are not undermined by a lack of US funding.”

“Denying millions of innocent civilians shelter, food, water, sanitary conditions and healthcare is simply cruel,” said Congressman Carson. “The campaign to discredit UNRWA’s track record because of unsubstantiated allegations, against a small fraction of UNRWA’s employees, attempts to distract from the reality of a devastating, urgent humanitarian crisis in Gaza. As we speak, the Palestinian death toll continues to climb to unimaginable heights. Over 29,000 Palestinians have been killed, in part due to the Israel Defense Forces’ unrelenting bombardments — even in locations they claimed would be safe — and in part due to lack of food, fuel, medical care and other necessities. Tens of thousands of additional Palestinians are also at risk because of injuries and disease with no access to basic healthcare.  Women are facing childbirth without medical help, and even enduring cesarians with no anesthesia.  We can and must do better. Congress and our Administration must unfreeze funding for UNRWA and immediately restore and replenish these desperately needed funds.” 

“UNRWA is essential to mobilizing relief to the besieged and desperate population of Gaza,” said Congressman Raskin. “With the death toll climbing each day and nearly two million people displaced from their homes and facing famine, with foreign humanitarian aid restricted and obstructed, the plight of children, women and men is dire. While I support a timely, thorough and independent investigation of profoundly disturbing allegations against a dozen UNRWA employees out of 30,000 workers, UNRWA is the only institution on the ground with the capacity to provide immediate life-saving assistance to Gaza’s 2.2 million people and address the escalating humanitarian catastrophe in the region.”

The United Nations (UN) established UNRWA to provide basic humanitarian needs to displaced Palestinian refugees, including food, water, and shelter. More than 29,000 Palestinians have been killed since the October 7th terrorist attack and millions are at risk of starvation, disease, and death from lack of medical care. Blocking funding for UNRWA will only perpetuate this humanitarian crisis and lead to further loss of life. 

The letter was signed by Representatives Nanette Barragán (CA-44), Donald Beyer (VA-08), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Cori Bush (MO-01), Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), Greg Casar (TX-35), Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Judy Chu (CA-28), Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05), Joe Courtney (CT-02), Danny Davis (IL-07), Madeleine Dean (PA-04), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-10), Debbie Dingell (MI-06), Lloyd Doggett (TX-37), Maxwell Alejandro Frost (FL-10), Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), Al Green (TX-09), Raúl Grijalva (AZ-07), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Henry “Hank” Johnson (GA-04), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Daniel Kildee (MI-08), Summer Lee (PA-12), Teresa Leger Fernández (NM-03), Stephen F. Lynch (MA-08), Betty McCollum (MN-04), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Eleanor Norton (DC-00), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Delia Ramirez (IL-03), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Melanie Stansbury (NM-01), Mark Takano (CA-39), Shri Thanedar (MI-13), Rashida Tlaib (MI-12), Jill Tokuda (HI-02), Paul Tonko (NY-20), Nydia Velázquez (NY-07), Maxine Waters (CA-43), and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

The full text of the letter can be found HERE