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Canadian-funded UN agency accused of abusing power

Conservatives have promised to cut funding to the agency if they are elected in the fall.

A UN agency funded by Canadian taxpayers has been accused of massive abuses of power according to a leaked internal report.

The leadership of the United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA), a UN group which is supposed to provide relief for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, stands accused of abusing their authority through nepotism and sexual misconduct.

In 2018, the United States cut all funding to the agency in question.

In contrast, the Trudeau government contributed $110 million to UNRWA since 2016. The previous Conservative government cut all funding to the organization in 2010  because of allegations it had links to Hamas, a designated terrorist organization by Canada.

The UN report says it received “credible” and “corroborated” evidence that UNRWA’s upper leadership, including Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl, used agency resources for personal gain.

This is not the first time UNRWA has been accused of misconduct. The agency has been found to have connections to the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas.

At least one UNRWA driver has admitted to smuggling weapons and explosives to Hamas, and Hamas was found to be storing weapons, including rockets, in UNRWA-run schools during Hamas’ attacks on Israel.

The Canadian government has refused to say whether funding will be cut to the UNRWA.

Conservatives, on the other hand, have promised to cut funding to the agency if they are elected in the fall.

“Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives have long expressed concerns with UNRWA – especially surrounding their ties to Hamas, the anti-Semitism harboured by employees, and now these new allegations of misconduct,” a Conservative spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for the Trudeau government indicated that they are monitoring the situation, and will follow the recommendations of the UN. 

“Canada expects that the process that the UN and UNRWA are following to investigate and address any wrongdoing is rigorous and fair,” the spokesperson said.

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