Allegations regarding Canadian funding for Union of Agriculture Work Committees

About

Reference number:
00063-2020
Date received:
2020-10-13
Organization:
Global Affairs Canada
Name of Minister:
Gould, Karina (Hon.)
Title of Minister:
Minister of International Development

Issue/Question:

Allegations regarding possible linkages between Canadian funding for Palestinians and terrorist organizations.

Suggested Response:

• The Government is concerned by the allegation of a possible connection between a Palestinian civil society organization, the Union of Agriculture Work Committees (UAWC) and a terrorist entity.
• While Canadian-funded projects with experienced international and Canadian partner organizations have included UAWC as a sub-implementer in the past, we do not currently fund the organization, directly or indirectly.
• Canadian officials are closely following the ongoing Dutch investigation into the UAWC, which focuses on two former employees of UAWC that were arrested by Israeli authorities and accused of being involved in a terrorist attack.
• For all international assistance funding for Palestinians, Global Affairs Canada exercises enhanced due diligence to ensure that funds are not misused or diverted to terrorist groups.
• [Call to suspend/terminate/investigate Canadian funding to the UAWC] The Government of Canada does not have any active projects involving this organization; there are therefore no projects to suspend or terminate [and no plans to use UAWC as a sub-implementer at this time].

Background:

On July 21, 2020, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation tabled a formal answer to a Parliamentary question related to allegations of linkages between the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) - a listed terrorist entity in Canada - and the Union of Agriculture Work Committees (UAWC). The answer indicated that the Netherlands has suspended further payments to UAWC pending a review related to Israel's arrest of two suspects in a terrorist attack in the West Bank in 2019. The two individuals had been employees of UAWC and had received some compensation, via overhead, attributed to Dutch funding.

No projects in the current portfolio of Canadian assistance for Palestinians (including support for the UN's response to the COVID-19 crisis) involve UAWC. Past projects that did include activities implemented by UAWC were managed in accordance with Global Affairs Canada's enhanced due diligence process.

Canada exercises enhanced due diligence for all international assistance funding for Palestinians. This includes ongoing oversight, regular site visits, a systematic screening process, and strong anti-terrorism provisions in funding agreements.

Canada is building the resilience of the most vulnerable Palestinians by protecting human dignity and fostering growth that works for everyone. Canadian funding, for example, is supporting economic opportunity and prosperity through the empowerment, entrepreneurship and employment of women and youth. Canada also supports efforts towards the creation of a Palestinian state by promoting inclusive governance, and peace and security.

Because Palestinians also face a protracted humanitarian crisis, Canada has a significant package of humanitarian assistance in the West Bank and Gaza. This assistance helps to respond to food security, health, protection, shelter, and other needs, including the needs of survivors of gender-based violence.

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