Montreal, Mar. 3, 2020 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) applauds the Canadian government’s decision yesterday to provide international aid to help poorer countries and communities struggling with the Covid-19. The government’s new international assistance seems oriented around three different poles: $50 million to help vulnerable countries prepare for and respond to the Covid-19 crisis; support for the UN’s appeal for USD $2 billion to help poorer countries and refugee communities; and support for a USD $5 trillion global stimulus fund from the G20 countries to support more vulnerable countries. This funding is on top of funding already promised to Canadians who are struggling from the changes imposed by the crisis.
“We lobbied the government on just these points,” announced Thomas Woodley, president of CJPME, “And we’re pleased to see the government taking action to help the most vulnerable, including internationally.” While CJPME expressed appreciation for the government’s promise of aid to Canadians in recent weeks, CJPME was pushing the government to enlarge its scope to include vulnerable overseas communities, especially refugee groups, and persons displaced by war and conflict.
CJPME would like to see Canada echo a European Union’s (EU) aid package (€82 million) for the UN aid agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA). “Refugee camps, with their crowded conditions and poor public health facilities, are especially vulnerable to an outbreak of Covid-19,” warned Woodley. In announcing the package, European Commission Vice-President Josep Borrell stated, “Our support of UNRWA is therefore not only our humanitarian duty. It also helps keeping alive the prospect of sustainable peace between Israelis and Palestinians, which, for the EU, can only be achieved through a negotiated two-state solution.” The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced that the US might reconsider the funding cutoff imposed by the Trump Administration in recent years in light of the Covid-19 outbreak. Turkey has also promised aid to the Palestinians, and Qatar has pledged $150 million in humanitarian aid to Gaza, with the money targeting efforts to stem the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
Cases of Covid-19 have already been identified in Gaza and the West Bank, as well as other extremely vulnerable areas in the Middle East, including Syria and Iraq. While Yemen has not yet reported any cases, that country’s civil war has left 93% of the country’s medical equipment out of service, and a World Health Organization official said he anticipates an explosion in the number of coronavirus cases in Syria and Yemen. CJPME continues to push for international aid for these vulnerable communities.
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 Khaoula Chehbouni, 438-380-5410
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East www.cjpme.org
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