In a recent report, the highly respected research institute, NGO Monitor, details how UN-coordinated international funds earmarked for emergency responses to the COVID-19 pandemic are going to Palestinian organizations with links to terrorism.
According to NGO Monitor, several of the groups funded through the UN Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) which has been designated by Canada as a terrorist organization since 2003.
Among OCHA’s NGO partners with ties to the PFLP, NGO Monitor lists the Health Work Committees, Union of Health Work Committees, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, and the Union of Palestinian Women Committees.
“Canada’s commitment to urgent humanitarian needs is important, but this is not the first time B’nai Brith Canada has expressed concern over Canadian funding to Palestinian NGOs with suspect profiles,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “We have repeatedly raised the alarm over Canada’s contributions to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugee (UNRWA). In February, we asked the government about the agencies which NGO Monitor identifies in its latest report as having ties to terrorism or which foment hatred towards Israel. There has not been a meaningful response.”
B’nai Brith Canada has asked the federal government to answer our questions in addressing some straightforward recommendations in the NGO Monitor report, including:
- Do Canadian guidelines ensure that funds are not provided to groups with ties to terrorism or that promote violent rhetoric or antisemitism?
- Does the government of Canada review all funding to OCHA and WHO projects to guarantee that funds are not being distributed to NGOs with ties to terrorist organizations?
- Does the government of Canada ensure that UN agencies respect and adhere to our domestic terrorism legislation and designations of terrorist entities?
- In the case of COVID-19 emergency humanitarian efforts, has Canada put in place guidelines to ensure funding provided is used solely for humanitarian purposes?
- Does the government of Canada have in place a domestic continuous monitoring mechanism to ensure ongoing compliance with these best practices?
To date, there has not been a meaningful response.
“We have repeatedly asked the federal government to explain its ‘due diligence’ process in detail and how it ensures Canadian assistance meant for humanitarian purposes is not going to NGOs which operate in contradiction to Canadian principles,” said Brian Herman, B’nai Brith Canada’s Director of Government Relations. “In this case, how do we ensure Canada’s assistance to OCHA is not being abused and how does Canada ensure the UN respects its decisions on designation of terrorist organizations?”
In seeking answers from the Canadian government, B’nai Brith noted that failure to address concerns over the funding of Palestinian NGOs with links to terrorism will inevitably harm Canada’s bid for a UN Security Council seat in 2021-2022.
B’nai Brith Canada continues to call for open transparency on these issues. There must be proper accountability for all future Canadian taxpayer-funded aid.