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Scotland has not cut funding to UN agency despite reports, claims Yousaf

An investigation was launched by UNRWA amid allegations several staff members were involved in the October 7 attacks.

Craig Paton
Sunday 28 January 2024 10:08 GMT
The First Minister posted on X, formerly Twitter (Jane Barlow/PA)
The First Minister posted on X, formerly Twitter (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Wire)

Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf said the country has not “paused or withdrawn” funding for the UN’s relief agency in Gaza despite reports.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) sacked several employees last week over suspicions they may have taken part in the October 7 attack on southern Israel, leading to several countries – including the UK – cutting funding.

Scotland has already paid out £750,000 to the agency last year to aid its efforts in the region.

On Sunday, reports emerged that Scotland had halted funding, mirroring the decision taken by the UK Government.

To be clear, @scotgov has not paused or withdrawn aid to @UNRWA

Humza Yousaf

Mr Yousaf said on X – formerly Twitter – that the cash was the limit Scotland could provide given its current financial situation.

“To be clear, @scotgov has not paused or withdrawn aid to @UNRWA,” Mr Yousaf wrote.

“We have previously provided as much as we can within our financial constraints.

“We will always seek to do more where we can & urge others to continue to provide aid to the people of Gaza.”

A statement provided to the media at the weekend from the Scottish Government said it had requested updates on the UNRWA investigation and there were “no plans” for further funding.

In a statement on Saturday, the head of UNRWA Philippe Lazzarini said: “It is shocking to see a suspension of funds to the agency in reaction to allegations against a small group of staff, especially given the immediate action that UNRWA took by terminating their contracts and asking for a transparent independent investigation.

“The United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), the highest investigative authority in the UN system, has already been seized of this very serious matter.”

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