FILE - In this March 12, 2018 file photo, refugee school girls fly kites during an event at the UNRWA Rimal Girls Preparatory school in Gaza City. UNWRA serves some 5 million Palestinians across the Middle East -- including refugees displaced by the war surrounding Israel's establishment in 1948 and their descendants. (Adel Hana/AP Photo/File)

Canada provides $62.5M to support Palestinian refugees

Share

Canada will contribute up to $50 million over two years to the beleaguered UN agency that supports Palestinian refugees after the United States cut its aid, International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced Friday.

Ottawa will also provide up to $12.5 million over five years for Right to Play International to support Palestinian refugees in the West Bank and Gaza, Bibeau said.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which saw most of its funding cut by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump earlier this year, will get the bulk of the money.

The UN agency was founded in 1949 after the first Arab-Israeli war, in the wake of the exodus of around 700,000  Palestinian refugees who fled or were driven out of Israel on its founding as a state in 1948.

UNRWA now looks after more than 5 million people in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Funding for basic services

A Palestinian woman holds bags of powdered milk from the European Community as a worker inside the United Nations Works and Relief Agency (UNWRA) pushes a sack of flour out from the warehouse for the woman March 17. (REUTERS)

Canada will contribute up to $40 million to UNRWA to meet the basic education, health and livelihood needs of millions of Palestinian refugees, especially women and children, Bibeau said.

The funding will also contribute to stability in the region by providing basic services to people whose needs would otherwise be unmet, she added.

Furthermore, up to $10 million of Canada’s support will provide emergency life-saving assistance to more than 460,000 Palestinian refugees in Syria and Lebanon, through UNRWA’s Emergency Appeal for the Syria regional crisis, Bibeau said.

“Canada’s new funding will contribute to improving the lives and protecting the human dignity of millions of Palestinian refugees,” Bibeau said in a statement.

This support will help to send hundreds of thousands of children to school, train teachers and support over a hundred health clinics, she added.

“This new funding to UNRWA is urgently needed, and it will bring some predictability to the agency as the needs on the ground are increasing,” Bibeau said.

Since 2016, Canada has committed $110 million in support for UNRWA.

Addressing concerns about neutrality

UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl attends a news conference at the end of a summit, to address Palestinian UNWRA funding crisis, at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters in Rome, Italy March 15, 2018. (Remo Casilli/REUTERS)

Canada’s funding will also assist UNRWA with its ongoing efforts to improve neutrality within the agency and its operations, she said.

“This assistance demonstrates how Canada and UNRWA are working together to ensure respect for the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, operational independence and impartiality,” Bibeau said. “This is essential to the effective delivery of its work and to Canada’s continued support.”

Critics of the agency, whose staff on the ground consists of mostly Palestinians, have accused it breaching the UN principles of neutrality and impartiality and of exaggerating the numbers of Palestinian refugees.

Some in Israel and in the U.S. feel the agency perpetuates the Palestinian refugee problem and has become a major obstacle to peace in the Middle East.

‘Sincere effort to disrupt’

In January 2018, the Trump administration reduced its annual contribution to UNRWA by $300 million. In August, the U.S. announced that it would not fund UNRWA anymore.

The U.S.-based Foreign Policy magazine said a senior adviser to President Trump called for a “sincere effort to disrupt” the agency.

“I deeply regret the decision, especially since the U.S. has been a long-standing partner to UNRWA,” Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner General of UNRWA, said at a press briefing in Brussels on Tuesday. “The decision was taken for political reasons and not because of dissatisfaction with UNWRA’s performance.”

Krähenbühl said UNRWA was facing an unprecedented shortfall of $446 million US since the beginning of the year.

Thanks to contributions from the European Union and a number of Gulf states that shortfall has now been reduced to $66 million US, he said.

Krähenbühl also rejected allegations that UNRWA has been perpetuating the conflict and blocked integration of the Palestinian refugees.

“It is the failure to end conflicts that prolongs refugee situations and denies refugees the choice to define a dignified future of their own,” Krähenbühl said.

column-banner-LEVON

Share
Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Immigration & Refugees, International

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

*

2 comments on “Canada provides $62.5M to support Palestinian refugees
  1. Avatar Peter Ashcroft says:

    Playing life-threatening politics with refugees and starving people is satanic

  2. Avatar James Vandenblink says:

    Bravo Canada!