Site icon Arab News

Austria to unblock funds for UNRWA

Many countries, including Britain and the United States paused their funding to UNRWA [GETTY]

Austria will release funds to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) that were blocked after allegations agency staff were involved in the 7 October attacks on Israel.

Vienna’s decision comes after UNRWA set out an action plan to better ensure its impartiality, strengthen internal reviews, and improve how its staff are monitored.

“After a thorough analysis of the action plan, we will release funds to UNRWA again,” the Austrian foreign ministry said on Saturday.

It added that funds totalling 3.4 million euros ($3.70 million) have been budgeted for 2024, with the first payment due in the summer.

Austria was one of the donor states to freeze some $450 million in funds after Israel accused UNRWA staff of participating in the Hamas-led attack that triggered the Gaza war.

According to Israeli claims, 190 UNRWA employees, including teachers, belong to Hamas or Islamic Jihad, and local Israeli and international media agencies published pictures of 11 UNRWA employees who were accused of being in the Palestinian resistance groups and participated in the 7 October attack.

UNRWA had fired several staff over Israel’s accusations, promising a thorough investigation into the claims, which were not specified.

Israel has vowed to stop the agency’s work in Gaza after the war, which has killed over 35,000 people in the enclave, mostly civilians, since 7 October.

Germany said last month it would resume cooperation with UNRWA following a report led by former French foreign minister Catherine Colonna on UNRWA’s procedures for ensuring adherence to neutrality principles.

Countries including  Canada, Australia and Sweden restored funding to the agency, while several Gulf countries, such as Saudi Arabia, increased funding.

UNRWA employs 32,000 people in the Palestinian territories and nearby countries, including 13,000 in the Gaza Strip, running schools and social services.


Source link

Exit mobile version