Canada restarts financial support for UN Palestinian Refugee Agency

Canada has decided to renew its financial contributions to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), following a temporary halt due to concerns raised by Israel. The pause in funding was a response to claims by Israel that 12 UNRWA staff members were involved in the Hamas attack on October 7.

Global Affairs Canada expressed its approval of the ongoing independent review of UNRWA, led by Catherine Colonna, and is looking forward to the report’s findings on the agency’s adherence to neutrality standards. UNRWA has already initiated measures to enhance its governance with stronger oversight, accountability, and transparency, according to Canada’s statement.

Canada has committed to collaborating with other donors, the UN, and UNRWA to implement recommendations from both the Office of Internal Oversight Services investigation and the independent review. Emphasizing the importance of neutrality in UNRWA’s work, Canada highlighted the agency’s critical role in providing humanitarian aid to over 2 million people and supporting another 4 million across the region.

The statement also noted the reliance of other organizations on UNRWA’s infrastructure and expertise for delivering aid in Gaza. Canada reiterated the need for all parties to adhere to international humanitarian law, ensuring the swift and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance to those in need.

Affirming its commitment to a peaceful two-state solution, where Israelis and Palestinians coexist with dignity and security, Canada has resumed funding to address the immediate needs of Palestinian civilians, as stated by Minister of International Development, Ahmed Hussen.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) praised Canada’s decision, highlighting UNRWA’s irreplaceable role in Gaza’s humanitarian response. The renewal and increase of funding were seen as correct moves by the government, according to NCCM head Stephen Brown.

This decision comes against the backdrop of an ongoing conflict in Gaza, triggered by a Hamas attack on October 7, leading to significant casualties, widespread displacement, and dire humanitarian conditions, exacerbated by a blockade. The United Nations has reported extensive damage to Gaza’s infrastructure and critical shortages, amid accusations of genocidal actions by Israel at the International Court of Justice, which has called for an immediate cessation of such acts and the assurance of humanitarian aid to Gaza’s civilians.–Web Desk