The president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Douglas Crosby of Hamilton, has signed a joint ecumenical letter to the Government of Canada requesting the reestablishment of Canada’s financial contributions to UNRWA (The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees).
The Government of Canada has recently signaled its openness to reestablishing such funding. The letter was sent on October 4, 2016, to the Minister for International Development and La Francophonie, the Honorable Marie-Claude Bibeau. In their letter, the signatories “urge Canada to restore its annual contribution in support of UNRWA’s work, and to increase its contribution significantly.”
UNRWA was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1949 to address the Palestinian refugee crises following the Arab-Israeli conflict in 1948. UNRWA resources provide education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance for about 5 million Palestinian refugees located in five regions: Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. UNRWA has received donations from the Holy See in past years, and is currently funded by several governments including the United States of America, the European Union, Japan, and several others.