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04 April 2024

UNRWA JUDICIAL REVIEW UPDATE: Limited further time agreed for Foreign Office to reply to Bindmans’ pre-action letter

2 mins

On 25 March 2024, Bindmans sent a pre-action letter to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, challenging its decision to pause funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which is widely regarded as the main provider of humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in Gaza. Bindmans argued that the suspension of funding has had a profound impact on UNRWA’s operational capabilities in Gaza. Given the desperate ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, Bindmans requested a response by 2 April 2024.

On 2 April 2024, the UK government wrote to Bindmans confirming that it will reply to the pre-action letter by 16 April 2024. In light of the Israeli attack on 1 April 2024 on the World Central Kitchen aid convoy, which led to the deaths of seven aid workers including three British nationals, Bindmans has agreed to allow the Foreign Office a limited further 14 days to respond. It is hoped that the Foreign Office will confirm the recommencement of funding. Bindmans’ client reserves the right to issue proceedings in 14 days should the reply not be satisfactory.

Shirin Marker, Solicitor at Bindmans acting on the case, states:

Israel’s attack on the World Central Kitchen aid convoy highlights the necessity of UNRWA’s vital infrastructure in delivering aid to Gaza and renders the Foreign Office’s decision to pause funding to UNRWA even more catastrophic. We hope that the UK government will take this additional time to recognise the importance of resuming funding to UNRWA and reach a sensible decision which avoids the need for litigation.

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