Denmark releases $15.3M in planned funding to UN agency for Palestinian refugees

Denmark releases $15.3M in planned funding to UN agency for Palestinian refugees

Ayse Dogru  |

ANKARA – Denmark said on Thursday it disbursed a planned contribution of DKK 105 million ($15.3 million) to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) “to mitigate the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza.”

Israel started its war on Gaza after the Oct. 7, 2023 cross-border offensive by Palestinian group Hamas. It has since killed more than 31,000 Palestinians and pushed the territory to the brink of famine.

In January, a number of countries suspended its funding to UNRWA after Israel accused the humanitarian organization of being linked to the attacks.

Denmark, however, was among the countries that announced they will wait for the result of the UN investigation to take a decision.

“The disbursement follows the initiation of a number of necessary UN measures, and decisions by like-minded such as Sweden and Canada, as well as the EU, to disburse aid to UNRWA,” the Danish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

It said the decision was taken as the world body conducted a credible follow-up on the case of Israeli accusations, the UN and UNRWA immediately dismissed the employees under accusation and launched an urgent investigation into the matter by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services.

“Against this background, countries such as Canada and Sweden, which had temporarily suspended their support to UNRWA, decided to resume the payment of new contributions. The EU has also disbursed its payments. Similarly, the Danish Government will disburse the Danish core contribution to UNRWA amounting to DKK 105 million. This contribution will support the organisation’s programme initiatives for Palestine refugees in Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria, with a particular focus on the humanitarian situation in Gaza,” the ministry said.

“There is currently no alternative to UNRWA in Gaza. In the longer term, it will be absolutely critical that important reform measures are initiated in the organisation,” said Development Cooperation and Global Climate Policy Minister Dan Jorgensen.

Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said the Danish government urgently appeals for a humanitarian cease-fire, adding that it is essential “we get more emergency aid on the ground as quickly as possible.”

“If this effort is to succeed, UNRWA plays an indispensable role right now. It is probably too much to hope that all of the weak points of the organisation have disappeared, but the leadership has initiated a number of measures to restore trust. Therefore, in line with a number of like-minded countries, we have decided to disburse our planned contribution,” he said.

He added that Copenhagen is also engaged in a range of other efforts to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza, including support for a maritime humanitarian corridor and putting pressure on Israel to improve humanitarian access by land.

*Writing by Serdar Dincel

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