Montreal, August 25, 2017 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) applauds the Canadian government’s decision this week to renew funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) – the UN aid agency for Palestinian refugees. Thursday, Canada’s Minister of International Development, Marie-Claude Bibeau announced that Canada would contribute $25 million total to support the organization’s work. “CJPME and other human rights organizations would prefer that Canada and the international community find a permanent solution for the five million registered Palestinian refugees. In the meantime, however, this funding is much needed by this vulnerable refugee population," declared Thomas Woodley, president of CJPME.
CJPME has been calling for an increase in Canada's annual contribution to UNRWA. CJPME points out that Canada's pledged support for 2017 is far less than what the Harper government gave in 2008 ($28 million USD), yet the number of refugees has grown significantly, and regional crises – like the Syrian civil war – have only increased the need. Last year, CJPME and two dozen other Canadian organizations called for $35 million to be gifted to UN Palestinian refugee aid.
Historically, Canada has been a very consistent donor to UNRWA. CJPME notes with approval that this is the second year that the Trudeau government has funded UNRWA, after the Harper government ended all UNRWA funding in 2013. CJPME also points out that the Trudeau government is giving to UNRWA "permanent" development programs, in a nod to the organization's essential educational, health and development programs. UNRWA provides services to Palestinian refugees in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere.
Palestinian refugees cannot be accommodated by the UN High Commission for Refugees 's standard mechanisms because Israel will not allow their repatriation, neighbouring countries will not integrate them permanently, and no third countries will resettle them. "At this point, some Palestinian refugee camps host multiple generations of refugees," notes Woodley. "After 70 years, Canada and the international community must help find a permanent solution for these refugees."
About CJPME – Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is a non-profit and secular organization bringing together men and women of all backgrounds who labour to see justice and peace take root again in the Middle East. Its mission is to empower decision-makers to view all sides with fairness and to promote the equitable and sustainable development of the region.
For more information, please contact CJPME at 438-380-5410
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East www.cjpme.org
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