Donor Countries Suspend Funding to UN Gaza Agency

Numerous significant donor countries have opted to suspend their financial contributions to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinian refugees.
UN agency
UN agencyAFP

This decision comes in the wake of allegations by Israel that certain UNRWA staff members participated in the October 7 attack by Hamas.

UNRWA, in response, has terminated several individuals and pledged to conduct a thorough investigation into the unspecified claims. Simultaneously, Israel has declared its intention to cease UNRWA's operations in Gaza post the ongoing conflict.

Philippe Lazzarini, the head of UNRWA, has publicly committed to holding accountable any employee found to have been involved in "acts of terror," with the possibility of criminal prosecution.

UN Chief Antonio Guterres has assured an urgent and independent review of UNRWA, urging donor states to ensure the agency's continuity for the benefit of the desperate populations it serves.

The United States, on Friday, announced the suspension of funding for UNRWA, a decision that has been echoed by several other nations.

Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong, while acknowledging the vital work done by UNRWA, announced a temporary pause in funding, emphasizing the importance of the agency's immediate response and investigation.

The British government expressed its dismay over the allegations made by Israel and decided to temporarily halt any future funding while a thorough review of the claims takes place.

Canada's International Development Minister Ahmed Hussen declared a temporary pause in additional funding, pending a comprehensive investigation into the allegations against UNRWA.

Finland, with a four-year funding agreement, has suspended payments and called for an independent and thorough investigation to ensure that funds do not support terrorist activities.

Paris announced no new funding for UNRWA for the first quarter of 2024, underscoring the seriousness of the allegations. Germany, in agreement with other donor countries, announced the suspension of funding until the accusations are clarified.

Italy joined the suspension of funding, expressing its commitment to humanitarian aid for the Palestinian population while ensuring Israel's security.

Japan, expressing extreme concern, suspended funding during the investigation into allegations against UNRWA staff and committed to diplomatic efforts to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Dutch Minister for Trade and Development Geoffrey van Leeuwen announced a freeze in funding for UNRWA while the investigation is ongoing, expressing shock over the accusations. Norway chose to maintain its funding to avoid collective punishment, urging other donors to consider the wider consequences during times of extreme humanitarian distress.

Switzerland, with annual contributions of around 20 million Swiss francs, withheld a decision on the 2024 payment until the accusations were clarified, emphasizing zero tolerance for support to terrorism.

Related Stories

No stories found.
Latest Lagos Local News -