July 20th, 2024

Canada’s future funding for UN relief organization in Gaza Strip still in limbo

By The Canadian Press on March 6, 2024.

Minister of International Development Ahmed Hussen speaks in the Foyer of the House of Commons before Question Period on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024. Canada hasn't made a final decision on whether to resume funding to the UN aid organization in Gaza when its next scheduled payment is due in April.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

OTTAWA – Canada hasn’t made a final decision on whether to resume funding to the UN aid organization in Gaza when its next scheduled payment is due in April.

A senior government source, speaking on condition of anonymity, says discussions continue on the decision, including with other countries that also paused funding to the organization earlier this winter.

More than a dozen countries paused donations to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in January after Israel alleged some of its workers workers participated in the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack.

International Development Minister Ahmed Hussen said last week Canada was still working with the UN and its allies to ensure a fulsome investigation of the allegations against UNRWA staff.

His office muddied the waters by scheduling a press conference this morning so Hussen could provide an update on the aid situation in Gaza, then cancelling it about 90 minutes before it was to begin.

A spokeswoman for Hussen would only say it was cancelled for “logistical” reasons.

Canada’s next scheduled payment to UNRWA isn’t until April and it has not missed a payment during the so-called pause.

“We have been working with our UN partners as well as donor countries that paused funding like Canada to ensure that we have a transparent, comprehensive investigation,” Hussen said in Ottawa on Feb. 28.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 6, 2024.

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