Canada commits up to $50m aid to Palestinians through UNRWA

OTTAWA – Canada will provide support of up to $50 million over two years for Palestinian refugees through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) two months after the United States cut all aid to the aid agency.

The North American country will also provide up to $12.5 million for Right to Play International, Minister of International Development Marie-Claude Bibeau announced on Saturday.

“Canada’s new funding will contribute to improving the lives and protecting the human dignity of millions of Palestinian refugees. This support will help to send hundreds of thousands of children to school, train teachers and support over a hundred health clinics,” said Bibeau. “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.”

An amount of up to $40 million will contribute to meeting the basic education, health and livelihood needs of millions of Palestinian refugees, especially women and children. The funding will also contribute to stability in the region by providing basic services to people whose needs would otherwise be unmet.

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.

The U.S., which was the largest donor to UNRWA, last year transferred more than $360 million to the organization.

Since 2016, Canada has committed $110 million in support for UNRWA, which is mandated to provide services to millions of Palestinian refugees.

In Syria, 95 percent of Palestinian refugees are in need of sustained humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs. In Lebanon, 95 percent of Palestinian refugees from Syria are food insecure.