Senate Republicans Advise Red Cross Against Hiring Former UNRWA Head as Director

Republicans (Credits: Roll Call)

Sixteen Republican senators on Monday urged the International Committee of the Red Cross to reconsider its decision to appoint Pierre Krähenbühl, the former head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), as the ICRC’s director general.

Krähenbühl, who led UNRWA from 2014 to 2019, resigned amidst allegations of mismanagement and ethical misconduct following an internal U.N. investigation, although he was largely cleared of these allegations.

He is scheduled to assume his role at the Red Cross in April, having previously served in various capacities at the ICRC before joining UNRWA. Both the Red Cross and UNRWA have faced scrutiny, particularly from the U.S. and Israel, amid the conflict in Gaza.

Senate Republicans (Credits: Roll Call)

The lawmakers, led by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Jim Risch (R-ID), expressed their concerns in a letter to the ICRC Assembly.

They cited publicly reported allegations of mismanagement, ethical misconduct, and abuse of authority against Krähenbühl during his tenure at UNRWA, which they believe disqualify him from leading the ICRC.

Additionally, the senators raised concerns about UNRWA’s direction under Krähenbühl’s leadership, including the discovery of Hamas weapons in UNRWA facilities and the use of textbooks containing anti-Semitic and anti-Israel material.

The letter underscored the lawmakers’ belief that Congress must not overlook the potential for anti-Semitism, violence, mismanagement, and moral corruption within international organizations. They argued that Krähenbühl’s hiring contradicts the core humanitarian principles of the ICRC.

The letter was co-signed by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Eric Schmitt (R-MO), Rick Scott (R-FL), Pete Ricketts (R-NE), John Kennedy (R-LA), Mike Braun (R-IN), John Boozman (R-AR), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Steve Daines (R-MT), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Todd Young (R-IN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Joni Ernst (R-IA).

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