Canada provides support to Palestinian refugees

News release

October 12, 2018 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

Canada is committed to providing humanitarian assistance and responding to the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable. Palestinian refugees endure high levels of poverty, unemployment and food insecurity. By helping to meet their humanitarian needs, Canada also contributes to stability in the region.

The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development, today announced Canada’s support of up to $50 million over two years for Palestinian refugees through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Canada will also provide up to $12.5 million for Right to Play International.

Of the support announced today, up to $40 million will contribute to  meeting the basic education, health and livelihood needs of millions of Palestinian refugees, especially women and children. The funding will also contribute to stability in the region by providing basic services to people whose needs would otherwise be unmet.

Furthermore, up to $10 million of Canada’s support will provide emergency life-saving assistance to more than 460,000 Palestinian refugees in Syria and Lebanon, through UNRWA’s Emergency Appeal for the Syria regional crisis.

Canada’s funding will also assist UNRWA with its ongoing efforts to improve neutrality within the agency and its operations. This assistance demonstrates how Canada and UNRWA are working together to ensure respect for the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, operational independence and impartiality. This is essential to the effective delivery of its work and to Canada’s continued support.

With support from the Government of Canada, Right to Play International will collaborate with UNRWA to help create a more inclusive environment for Palestinian refugee children and to respond to existing educational gaps and needs in the West Bank and Gaza.


“Canada’s new funding will contribute to improving the lives and protecting the human dignity of millions of Palestinian refugees. This support will help to send hundreds of thousands of children to school, train teachers and support over a hundred health clinics. This new funding to UNRWA is urgently needed, and it will bring some predictability to the agency as the needs on the ground are increasing.”

- Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development 

Quick facts

  • Since 2016, Canada has committed $110 million in support for UNRWA.

  • UNRWA is mandated to provide services to millions of Palestinian refugees.

  • Canada’s two-year funding commitment will contribute to addressing UNRWA’s funding shortfall and improve the predictability of the agency’s revenues, allowing it to plan how to meet current and expected needs.

  • In Syria, 95% of Palestinian refugees are in need of sustained humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs. In Lebanon, 95% of Palestinian refugees from Syria are food insecure. 

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Justine Lesage
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Development

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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