Probe spurs sidelining of head of UN agency for Palestinians

GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees says its top official has temporarily stepped aside after an internal probe turned up “management issues” amid concerns about possible sexual misconduct, nepotism and other abuses of authority at the agency.

The U.N. Relief and Works Agency did not mention Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl by name, but said U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appointed Christian Saunders as “officer-in-charge” for now.

Wednesday’s statement said an ongoing review by the U.N. internal oversight office turned up “a number of areas that required strengthening” at UNRWA, which provides support to 5.5 million Palestinian refugees.

A confidential report by the U.N. ethics office obtained by The Associated Press in July claimed UNRWA managers including Krahenbuhl had “engaged in sexual misconduct, nepotism, retaliation, discrimination and other abuses of authority.”

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