Canada in reversal funds UN assistance for Palestinians


The government of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has reversed cuts to aid for Palestinians enacted by the previous administration, International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced.

Ottawa pledged Can$20 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) to boost access to education, health and social services for "millions of vulnerable Palestinian refugees," Bibeau said in a statement late last Wednesday. The government also committed Can$5 million to UNRWA's emergency appeal for Palestinian refugees impacted by the conflict in Syria and surrounding areas.

The funding is expected to help 5.5 million Palestinians, said Bibeau.

Specifically it will be used to educate about 500,000 boys and girls in 685 schools and help finance the operations of 137 health care facilities and 61 women's programmes.

"Millions of Palestinian refugees across the Middle East have the right to receive basic services such as health care and to send their children to school," Bibeau said. "We want to see Palestinian refugee children in classrooms where they can learn universal values of tolerance and respect.

Prior to 2012, Canada had been a consistent contributor to UNRWA since its creation in 1949.    (AFP)

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