Statement by Minister Hussen on allegations against staff of United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East


January 26, 2024 – Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of International Development, today issued the following statement:

“Today, I spoke directly with Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East [UNRWA] to express Canada’s alarm about allegations of his agency’s staff being involved in Hamas’s brutal terrorist attacks against Israel on October 7, 2023. Canada is taking these reports extremely seriously and is engaging closely with UNRWA and other donors on this issue.

“Canada welcomes United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres’s direction that UNRWA swiftly investigate these extremely serious allegations. Canada has temporarily paused any additional funding to UNRWA while it undertakes a thorough investigation into these allegations. Should the allegations prove to be accurate, Canada expects UNRWA to immediately act against those determined to have been involved in Hamas’s terrorist attacks.

“As UNRWA undertakes this investigation, Canada will not reduce its support to the people of Gaza. Canada will continue to work with other partners to provide life-saving assistance to civilians in Gaza.

“Canada remains deeply concerned by the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and continues to call for the rapid, sustained and unimpeded passage of essential relief so that it can reach those in need. We urge all parties to uphold international humanitarian law.”


Olivia Batten
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Development

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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