A proposal introduced by senators Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz to block U.S. funding for all United Nations functions in response to last month’s U.N. Security Council vote opposing Israeli settlements would "negatively affect countless refugees and others who rely on the U.N.’s worldwide humanitarian efforts to keep themselves and their families safe from violence, starvation and homelessness," said HIAS VP for Policy and Advocacy Melanie Nezer in an op-ed for The Hill on Tuesday.
"Cutting all funding to the U.N., which includes the Refugee Agency, the World Food Program, the World Health Organization, and UNICEF, would cause immeasurable suffering. Look at the potential impact of defunding just one of these agencies to get a sense of what is at stake," Nezer writes.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees has a mandate to assist and protect refugees and displaced people – a vital mission in the midst of the greatest refugee crisis in recorded history, surpassing even the number displaced after World War II. Cutting funding to this agency would mean ending programs that educate refugee children and help their parents put food on the table. In addition to creating a humanitarian disaster, such a move would further destabilize countries hosting the largest numbers of refugees, particularly in the Middle East and Africa.
The world needs many things right now, but increased global instability is not on the list. And assistance to refugees is only one part of the U.N.’s lifesaving work.
Nezer concludes that, "while this bill is unlikely to change any country’s voting pattern at the U.N., the most desperate and powerless among us will pay an enormous price for it. The senators should find a better way to make their point." Read the full op-ed in The Hill.