‘Respond to Urgent Needs’ – Canada to Resume Funding for UNRWA

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (Image: Palestine Chronicle)

Canada announced on Friday that it is resuming support to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) after a decision to pause funding because of Israeli allegations.

Several countries, including the US, UK, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Canada, suspended funding to the agency that was established in 1949 to cater to Palestinian refugees in the Middle East.

The decision to suspend funding came after Israel claimed that 12 UNRWA staff participated in the October 7 military operation carried out by the Palestinian Resistance in southern Israel.

‘Value of Neutrality’

Canada’s Minister of International Development, Ahmed Hussen, said the decision came as a result of a desire to protect civilians.

“Canada is resuming its funding to UNRWA so more can be done to respond to the urgent needs of Palestinian civilians,” he said.

A statement by the Global Affairs of Canada said it “commends the independent review of UNRWA currently underway, led by Catherine Colonna, and anticipates reviewing the report assessing UNRWA’s neutrality mechanisms.”

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“While these investigative processes continue, UNRWA has taken immediate measures to strengthen oversight, accountability and transparency,” it added.

Pledging to “work with fellow donors, the UN and UNRWA to ensure that the recommendations stemming from both the OIOS investigation and the independent review are fully implemented,” it said, “Canada expects UNRWA to meet its obligations and uphold the UN’s value of neutrality: this is an essential component of UNRWA’s mandate.”

Forced Into False Confessions

UNRWA said in a report that some employees – released into Gaza after being held by Israel – reported having been forced by Israeli authorities into false confessions regarding their role in the October 7 military operation.

The report, which was reviewed by the Reuters news agency, is dated February 2024.

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According to Reuters, the document “detailed allegations of mistreatment in Israeli detention made by unidentified Palestinians, including several working for UNRWA.”

UNRWA communications director Juliette Touma told Reuters that “the agency planned to hand the information in the 11-page, unpublished report to agencies inside and outside the UN, specialized in documenting potential human rights abuses.

Gaza Genocide

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7. 

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 30,960 Palestinians have been killed, and 72,524 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 7,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip. 

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Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire.’

(Anadolu, PC)

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