2, March, 2024
HomeWorldInternational Donors React to UNRWA Controversy: Funding Suspensions and Calls for Accountability

International Donors React to UNRWA Controversy: Funding Suspensions and Calls for Accountability

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The leader of UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini, has pledged to take strong actions, including criminal prosecution, against any staff implicated in “acts of terror” following Israel’s accusations of their involvement in the October 7 attack by Hamas. Several key donor countries have reacted to these allegations by temporarily halting funding to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.

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Australia: Foreign Minister Penny Wong acknowledged UNRWA’s vital work but announced a temporary pause in funding, commending the agency’s swift response in terminating contracts and launching an investigation.

Britain: The British government expressed shock at the allegations and announced a temporary funding pause pending a review of the claims by the Foreign Office.

Canada: International Development Minister Ahmed Hussen stated that Canada has temporarily suspended additional funding to UNRWA pending a thorough investigation into the allegations.

Finland: Finland, previously committed to providing five million euros annually, suspended payments and called for an independent and thorough investigation to ensure funds do not support terrorism.

France: Paris declared no plans for new funding, emphasizing the seriousness of the allegations and committing to decide on future actions in collaboration with the United Nations and major donors.

Germany: Germany, aligning with other donor countries, suspended funding until the accusations are clarified, emphasizing the need for resolution before approving further resources.

Italy: Italy joined the ranks of countries suspending funding and emphasized its commitment to providing humanitarian aid while safeguarding Israel’s security.

Japan: Expressing extreme concern, Japan suspended funding pending the investigation and committed to diplomatic efforts to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Netherlands: Dutch Minister Geoffrey van Leeuwen announced a freeze in funding, expressing shock over the allegations that the attack was committed with UN money.

Norway: Despite concerns over the allegations, Norway maintained its funding to avoid collectively punishing millions of people during this time of extreme humanitarian distress.

Switzerland: Switzerland, contributing around 20 million Swiss francs annually, withheld a decision on the 2024 payment until the accusations against UNRWA are clarified, emphasizing zero tolerance for support for terrorism.

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United States: The US State Department suspended payments, supporting the UN’s investigation and calling for complete accountability for those involved in the alleged heinous attacks. The importance of UNRWA’s critical role in providing essential humanitarian support to Palestinians was also underscored.

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