Canada pledges $62M aid for Palestinians

Move comes after US said Washington would 'no longer commit funding' to UN agency for Palestinian refugees

Canada pledges $62M aid for Palestinians

Canada will provide $62.5 million in aid for Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, and Jordan, the Canadian International Development Ministry announced on Friday. 

In a statement, Canadian International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said up to $50 million will be provided for over two years for Palestinian refugees through the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). 

The announcement comes after the U.S. State Department stated in September that Washington would “no longer commit funding” to UNRWA. 

The U.S. had been UNRWA's largest contributor by far, providing it with $350 million annually -- roughly one-quarter of the agency's overall budget. 

Established in 1949, UNRWA provides critical aid to Palestinian refugees in the blockaded Gaza Strip, the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. 

In September, the foreign ministers of Jordan, Sweden, Turkey, Japan, and Germany, as well as the EU foreign policy chief, held a ministerial meeting in New York in order to mobilize financial and political support for the agency.

Canada will also provide up to $12.5 million for Right to Play International, a Toronto-based education organization for children in need, according to the statement.

Around $40 million of Canada's funding “will contribute to meeting the basic education, health and livelihood needs of millions of Palestinian refugees, especially women and children,” the statement added. 

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