Australia to resume millions of dollars of funding to UNRWA

Australia to resume millions of dollars of funding to UNRWA
Australia said it will resume funding to UNRWA after still unproven Israeli allegations that staff members participated in the Oct 7 attack
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Foreign Minister Penny Wong said that UNRWA is vital in providing assistance to Palestinian refugees [GETTY]

Australia will resume funding to the United Nations' main Palestinian relief agency, Foreign Minister Penny Wong said on Friday, almost two months after it paused ties over allegations some of the agency's employees participated in the Oct.7 Hamas attack.

Australia had consulted with both UNRWA and other donor countries and was satisfied with the additional safeguards put in place, Wong said. Some A$6 million ($3.9 million) in paused funding will be released immediately, she added.

"We have children and families that are starving and we have a capacity along with the international community to assist them," Wong said at a news conference. "We know that UNRWA is central and vital to delivering that assistance."

Australia along with more than a dozen countries, suspended funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in January after Israel accused 12 of the agency's 13,000 employees in Gaza of participating in the deadly Oct. 7 Hamas attack.

The UN has launched an investigation into the allegations, and UNRWA fired some staff after Israel provided the agency with information on the allegations.

Sweden, Canada and the European Union have resumed funding to some degree. The organisation's head said last week he cautiously optimistic other donors would resume funding soon.