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Sweden and Canada announces further funding concessions for Palestinian refugees

Abdur Rahman Khan

In a statement, the country says the government has allocated 400 million kroner for 2024.

Sweden-Canada announced another funding cut for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinian refugees.

On October 7, the Palestinian independence armed organization Hamas attacked Israel. According to Israeli estimates, about 1,200 people were killed in that attack. The country alleged that at least 12 members of UNRWA were involved in the attack. As a result, 16 countries around the world suspended funding to the organization. The UN is investigating the matter under the leadership of the French foreign minister. BBC news

On Saturday local time, Sweden said it would initially provide financial assistance of 200 million kroner. If UNRWA takes action against costs and staff, more money will be released.

In a statement, the country says the government has allocated 400 million kroner for 2024. This time 200 million will be given. However, the government is concerned about the allocation of this money. Last Friday, Canada announced the re-funding of UNRWA staff while the investigation continues.

More than 30,000 people in Gaza have lost their lives in Israel’s attacks since last October. The Hamas-controlled health ministry said the amount of aid reaching civilians had dropped significantly. The United Nations has warned that a quarter of the Gaza Strip’s population is on the brink of famine, with many children dying of starvation.

About 13,000 UNRWA staff are working in Gaza. The head of the organization, Philippe Lazzarini, said, “We are hopeful that within a week, donor countries will start funding UNRWA again.” He said the complaint is being investigated. A few members have already been suspended for the sake of investigation.

Earlier this month, the European Commission announced a 50 million euro exemption. According to the organization’s 2022 data, Sweden is one of the top four donor countries. Canada is one of the 11 highest countries.

Canada’s International Development Minister Ahmed Hussain announced the exemption in a statement last Friday. He said Palestinians need more assistance to respond to the urgent needs of civilians. This exemption was granted in recognition of the ongoing robust investigation process. More will be given after investigation. The Canadian Armed Forces will give Jordan about 300 cargo parachutes, which can be used in Gaza.

Last Friday, the UK, US and other donor groups suggested using sea routes for aid to reach Gaza.

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