Nov 7, 2019 – http://www.swissinfo.ch
The departing Swiss head of a United Nations agency for assisting Palestinian refugees says he is the victim of a political attack. Pierre Krähenbühl denies reports that he fast-tracked a female member of staff with whom he was romantically involved.
Krähenbühl told Swiss public broadcaster, RTS, that he resigned as Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) under unbearable political pressure.
“I am resigning because of hyper-politicisation of the UNRWA. I have never seen such violent attacks in my 28-year humanitarian career. I am resigning to bring more serenity to UNRWA,” he told RTS.
He referred specifically to undue pressure from a United States official in May, but he hinted that this was part of a concerted effort to undermine the UNRWA.
Krähenbühl claimed that an ongoing UN investigation into alleged mismanagement and abuse of power at the agency had cleared him of allegations surrounding the female employee. “The investigation has not uncovered any cases of corruption, fraud or mismanagement. And the allegation of favouritism towards, or liaison with, an employee was deemed non-existent,” he said.
On Wednesday, the UNRWA stated that Krähenbühl had stepped down as a result of an ongoing review of “management-related matters” that had already identified “a number of areas which required strengthening” and had “commenced corrective action”.
The UN Secretary General appointed Christian Saunders as officer-in-charge for the interim period. Saunders previously served as the agency’s acting deputy commissioner general.