ANI Photo | Canada, Sweden resume UNRWA funding after pause over terror allegations against staff

Amid the Israel war in Gaza, Canada has announced to resume funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) after several countries cut their aid as Israel accused dozens of the agency’s employees in Gaza of taking part in a Hamas attack on October 7, Al Jazeera reported.
In a statement on Friday, Canadian Minister of International Development Ahmed Hussen said the government is “resuming its funding to UNRWA so more can be done to respond to the urgent needs of Palestinian civilians.”
According to the report, the decision came after fierce criticism for cutting assistance during Israel’s war in Gaza.
UNRWA immediately sacked the employees in question and announced that it was opening a probe into the allegations, which it described as “shocking” and “serious”. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also appointed an independent panel to investigate.
Israel, however, did not provide concrete evidence to back up its allegations. Canadian broadcaster CBC News also reported in early February that Canada had not seen any intelligence backing the claim before it decided to cut the funding.
The decision to cut funding for UNRWA, which relies on government contributions to fund its operations in the occupied Palestinian territories, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, drew immediate concern and calls from rights advocates to reconsider.
Additionally, Sweden said Saturday it would resume aid to the cash-strapped UN agency for Palestinians with an initial disbursement of USD 20 million after receiving assurances of extra checks on its spending and personnel, The Times of Israel reported.
“The government has allocated 400 million kronor to UNRWA for the year 2024. Today’s decision concerns a first payment of 200 million kronor,” the Swedish government said in a statement.
It said that to unblock the aid, UNRWA had agreed to “allow controls, independent audits, to strengthen internal supervision and extra controls of personnel.”
UNRWA is the key agency providing critical humanitarian supplies to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, where Israel’s continued bombardment and siege have killed more than 30,000 people and led to widespread hunger and disease.
Humanitarian groups had warned that cutting UNRWA funding would have dire repercussions for Palestinians in Gaza and urged donor countries to reverse their decisions.
Since then, the situation in the Strip has deteriorated further, as Israeli military attacks continue. About a dozen Palestinian children have died in recent weeks due to a lack of food and water in Gaza, according to health authorities in the coastal enclave.

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