Finland to resume funding to UNRWA

Finland to resume funding to UNRWA
Finland's foreign trade and development minister said on Friday that Finland would resume funding UNRWA.
2 min read
A view of the destruction as a result of Israeli attacks at the UNRWA headquarters in February [GETTY]

Finland's foreign trade and development minister said on Friday that the country will resume funding the UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA. UNRWA is the leading aid entity for Palestinians in Gaza and across the Middle East.

"UNRWA improving its risk management, meaning preventing and initiating close monitoring for misconduct, provides sufficient guarantees for us at this point to continue our support", Foreign Trade and Development Minister Ville Tavio said.

He told a press conference some of the Finnish money would be earmarked for risk management.

Finland had a four-year agreement to provide five million euros ($5.4 million) annually to UNRWA.

It suspended its payments and called for "an independent and thorough investigation" in a statement from its foreign ministry.

"We must make sure that not a single euro of Finland's money goes to Hamas or other terrorists," it said.

Several countries, including the United States and Britain, paused their funding to UNRWA after accusations by Israel that a dozen of the agency's 13,000 staff in Gaza took part in the 7 October Hamas attack in Israel.

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 32,000 people in the enclave, primarily civilians.

Foreign Minister Israel Katz said on X, formerly Twitter that he would try to gather support for the agency from the US, EU, and other major donors.

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