Canada, Sweden resume UNRWA aid funding for Palestinians

Many countries suspended funding over alleged role of agency’s staff in attacks

UNRWA Palestinian funding Representative Image | Reuters

Sweden and Canada said they will resume aid payments to UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees after it suspended the funds over the agency's staff involvement in Hamas attacks last month.

At least 16 countries stopped its funding to UNRWA over the accusation of its staff's involvement. Presently, 12 of its staff are facing investigation over the alleged attacks on October 7 last year.

The investigation is done by the UN, while France's foreign minister is leading a review.

Sweden said on Saturday that it would send 200 million kronor initially after UNRWA agreed to more investigations on the allegations.

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

Sweden’s announcement comes after Canada on Friday said that it would re-start funding for UNRWA while investigations continue.

UNRWA is the biggest UN agency operating in Gaza providing healthcare, education and other humanitarian aid to the people. There are about 13,000 UNRWA employees there.

After many countries stopped the funding, the agency was "at risk of death". Within days, Lazzarini said an investigation was being carried out, and "to protect the agency's ability to deliver humanitarian assistance" these staff members had been sacked.

"What is at stake is the fate of the Palestinians today in Gaza in the short term who are going through an unprecedented humanitarian crisis," said Lazzarini.

According to a 2022 data, Sweden is the fourth largest contributor to the agency's budget, and Canada is the 11th largest. The US, Germany, EU, Sweden, Norway and Japan are the top five countries contributing to the UNRWA.

The Canadian Armed Forces said it will also donate about 300 cargo parachutes to Jordan, so they can be used to airdrop supplies into Gaza.


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