Canada lifting freeze on UNRWA funding just after weeks of protests, criticism | Israel War on Gaza Information

Montreal, Canada – Canada has announced it is lifting a freeze on funding for the United Nations company for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), following going through intense criticism for slicing assistance all through Israel’s war in Gaza.

In a assertion on Friday, Canadian Minister of Global Growth Ahmed Hussen stated the government is “resuming its funding to UNRWA so extra can be completed to reply to the urgent requires of Palestinian civilians”.

Canada experienced joined the United States and many other nations around the world in reducing funding to UNRWA in late January, soon after Israel accused about a dozen of the agency’s a lot more than 13,000 personnel in Gaza of taking part in a Hamas attack on Oct 7.

UNRWA instantly sacked the personnel in concern and declared that it was opening a probe into the allegations, which it described as “shocking” and “serious”. UN Secretary-Standard Antonio Guterres also appointed an unbiased panel to investigate.

Israel, having said that, did not give concrete evidence to back again up its allegations. Canadian broadcaster CBC Information also described in early February that Canada experienced not found any intelligence backing the claim ahead of it made a decision to slash the funding.

The decision to slash funding for UNRWA — which depends on authorities contributions to fund its functions in the occupied Palestinian territories, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon — drew quick worry and phone calls from rights advocates to rethink.

UNRWA also is the vital agency providing crucial humanitarian materials to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, exactly where Israel’s continued bombardment and siege have killed much more than 30,000 individuals and led to popular starvation and sickness.

Humanitarian teams had warned that chopping UNRWA funding would have dire repercussions for Palestinians in Gaza and urged donor nations around the world to reverse their selections.

Since then, the problem in the Strip has deteriorated more, as Israeli military services attacks go on. About a dozen Palestinian small children have died in new months because of to a deficiency of food stuff and drinking water in Gaza, according to wellbeing authorities in the coastal enclave.

Israeli attacks on Gaza continue
Palestinians acquire to inspect a wrecked setting up pursuing an Israeli attack on Deir el-Balah on March 8 [Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency]

‘Reckless political decision’

On Friday afternoon, Canadian human legal rights advocates welcomed the government’s conclusion to carry the freeze on UNRWA funding but stressed that the money should not have been slash to start with.

“Resuming assist to UNRWA is a considerably-desired selection, and it would not have been doable devoid of the essential advocacy from across civil society,” explained Thomas Woodley, president of the advocacy group Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East.

“Minister Hussen’s cancellation of funding was a reckless political final decision that under no circumstances ought to have been built. Canada’s irresponsible steps threatened to collapse the support infrastructure in Gaza, placing the lives of hundreds of thousands of folks at threat,” Woodley mentioned in a statement.

“Canada should considerably maximize funding to UNRWA to compensate for the hurt its steps have caused to the individuals of Gaza.”

The govt contributed $66.5m ($90m Canadian) to UNRWA from 2019 nevertheless mid-2023. Previous June, Ottawa also introduced that it would present as a lot as $74m ($100m Canadian) to the company more than 4 yrs to support fund training, health and fitness care and other companies.

Canadian media outlets have reported that the subsequent installment of that funding — about $18m ($25m Canadian) — is owing in April.

Meanwhile, the head of the National Council of Canadian Muslims also pointed out on Friday that “there are no other businesses that can replicate UNRWA’s central function in the humanitarian response in Gaza”.

“While funding really should not have been paused in the very first location, the govt made the ideal decision nowadays by renewing and escalating funding,” the group’s CEO, Stephen Brown, mentioned in a statement.

Pressure on Trudeau

Canadian Primary Minister Justin Trudeau’s governing administration had faced strain from pro-Israel lobby teams to sustain its freeze on funding for UNRWA. Associates of Trudeau’s own Liberal Party also experienced urged him to withhold the resources.

Professional-Israel Liberal legislators Anthony Housefather and Marco Mendicino said in a letter on Thursday that they experienced advised “that Canada operate in lockstep with the United States and other allies”.

They urged the govt “to leverage alternate partners and to build new vehicles of humanitarian aid that will meaningfully access the civilians of Gaza in the short term”.

But gurus and humanitarian teams have explained UNRWA is finest suited to supply much-needed support to Palestinians in Gaza.

In a news meeting on Friday afternoon, Hussen mentioned the selection to resume funding was “in recognition of the sizeable and severe procedures that the United Nations has carried out to handle the difficulties in UNRWA”.

It also comes in recognition of “the crucial part that UNRWA plays in giving a lot-required aid to around two million Palestinians in Gaza, as well as … millions additional in the broader region”, Hussen told reporters.

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