The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced that it will contribute 70 million ISK [$504,000; €477,000] to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), in response to a UN call for increased aid to Palestine.
This contribution is in addition to Iceland’s regular funding to the organization, which is one of Iceland’s cooperation partners in humanitarian matters.
Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, stated: “The terrible escalation of events in the Gaza Strip primarily affects ordinary citizens. The number of victims is in the hundreds of thousands. Iceland has condemned the actions of the terrorist organization Hamas and reminded Israel of the importance of adhering to international law, including human rights. Such words matter, but by making a significant financial contribution to help the victims of this crisis, we go beyond words and can alleviate the suffering of those who are suffering and are victims of these circumstances. I hope that the world’s nations will stand together in ensuring the safety and well-being of the civilian population in their response to the current situation.”
Iceland has cooperated with UNRWA for decades, and the organization provides humanitarian assistance and protection, basic education, health, and social services to Palestinian refugees in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem, as well as those displaced in Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. UNRWA is the main United Nations agency responding to the current crisis, providing assistance to both refugees and others affected by the conflict.
Last September, the Minister of Foreign Affairs signed a framework agreement with UNRWA for the continued support of Icelandic authorities to the organization for the next five years. With the additional contribution announced today, Iceland’s funding to the organization for this year matches the contributions specified in the binding agreement for coming years.