UNRWA: Sweden and Canada resume funding for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees – World

image source, Getty Images

Sweden and Canada have said they will resume aid to UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.

They were among 16 countries that cut off funding after Israel accused UNRWA staff of involvement in an October 7 Hamas attack.

The United Nations is investigating, and France's foreign minister is leading a review.

Sweden said on Saturday it would initially send 200 million kroner (£15m; $19m), after UNRWA agreed to further checks on its spending and staff.

https://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/ads?sz=320x480|336x280|120x60|120x90|1x1|400x300|125x125|250x250|320x50|468x60&iu=/22912810984/POSTAD&ciu_szs='fluid',125x125,250x250&env=vp&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&output=vast&unviewed_position_start=1&url=[referrer_url]&description_url=[description_url]&correlator=[timestamp]

“The government has allocated 400 million kroner to UNRWA for 2024. Today's decision concerns the first payment of 200 million kroner,” it said in a statement.

Canada said on Friday it would resume funding for UNRWA while an investigation into the agency's staff continues.

On October 7, Hamas gunmen crossed the Gaza border into Israel, killing nearly 1,200 people and taking more than 250 hostages.

In response, Israel launched a campaign of airstrikes and ground attacks on the territory.

More than 30,900 people have been killed in Gaza so far, the territory's Hamas-run health ministry says, and aid reaching civilians has dwindled.

The UN has warned that a quarter of the Strip's population is on the brink of famine and children are dying of starvation.

UNRWA is the largest United Nations agency in Gaza. It provides health care, education and other humanitarian assistance and employs about 13,000 people.

Its chief, Filipe Lazzarini, said he was “cautiously optimistic” donors would start funding it again within weeks.

He said the organization was “at risk of death” after major donor countries suspended funding in late January after several staff members were allegedly involved in the October 7 attack. Within days, Mr. Lazzarini said an investigation was being conducted and that the staff had been fired “to protect the agency's ability to provide humanitarian assistance.”

“In the short term the fate of Palestinians in Gaza today is going through an unprecedented humanitarian crisis,” Mr Lazzarini said.

The European Commission said earlier this month that it would release 50 million euros in UNRWA funding.

Sweden is the fourth largest contributor to the agency's budget and Canada the 11th largest, 2022 data show.

The country's International Development Minister Ahmed Hussain announced Canada's decision in a statement on Friday.

He said it was made so that “more could be done to respond to the urgent needs of Palestinian civilians”, and “in recognition of the ongoing robust investigation process”.

The Canadian Armed Forces will donate about 300 cargo parachutes to Jordan, so they can be used to deliver supplies to Gaza.

Meanwhile an internal draft document compiled by UNRWA and seen by the BBC details widespread torture of Palestinians, including UNRWA staff released from Israeli detention in Gaza.

In the documents, former detainees described a wide range of mistreatment.

It said: “Agency staff members have been threatened and coerced by Israeli authorities while in detention and pressured to make false statements against the agency, including that the agency has ties to Hamas and that UNRWA staff members participated in the 7. October 2023 atrocities.”

In a statement to the BBC, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) rejected the specific allegations and said: “Mistreatment of detainees during detention or interrogation violates IDF standards and violates the IDF and is therefore completely prohibited.”

Leave a Comment

Java Burn – Shocking Customer Side Effects Update Fast Lean Pro Reviews (Hidden Truth Exposed!) Real Weight Loss Or Cheap Customer Results? A perfect scientific ingredient for weight loss GlucoTrust Reviews Disclosed Beware NoBody Tells You This Alpilean Weight Loss Formula
Java Burn – Shocking Customer Side Effects Update Fast Lean Pro Reviews (Hidden Truth Exposed!) Real Weight Loss Or Cheap Customer Results? A perfect scientific ingredient for weight loss GlucoTrust Reviews Disclosed Beware NoBody Tells You This Alpilean Weight Loss Formula