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Guyana president announces $72m Gaza donation

April 9, 2024 at 11:47 am

President of the Republic of Guyana, Mohamed Irfaan Ali (C) on his visit to the Ramadan Village in the capital Georgetown on 6 April 2024 when $72 million was donated to support UNRWA’s relief efforts in Gaza [Quds Press]

President of the Republic of Guyana, Mohamed Irfaan Ali, announced the collection of over $72 million in donations to provide immediate humanitarian relief to the residents of Gaza and the occupied Palestinian territories.

Ali made the announcement during his visit to the Ramadan Village organised by the Islamic Youth Association in Guyana on Saturday evening, under the slogan “A Night of Prayer for Global Peace, Guyana, and Palestine”, held in the capital, Georgetown.

The event was attended by Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, government ministers, the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Yesim Oruc, and other political and community figures.

“This represents a historic event for Guyana, where the country has once again demonstrated its commitment to charitable work and humanitarian efforts by involving all segments of the population in making donations for the Palestinian people,” Ali said at the event.

“During this night, we have once again strengthened our identity as Guyana. We have reaffirmed what makes us distinct and separate from all other nations. We have reaffirmed that the love and unity of Guyana can be shared and experienced by citizens everywhere else in the world,” he added.

Ali announced that the donations will be given to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), emphasising that the country’s charitable work is not limited to humanitarian progress; it extends to policies, actions and words.

“This is what Islam teaches us. Let us ensure that wherever there is injustice in this world, our voices will never be silenced.”

He reiterated his call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza without conditions, affirming that Israel is committing a “genocide” in Gaza and this is the first to be televised.

“It is no less than a genocide, and it must stop, it must stop unconditionally.”

For her part, the UN Coordinator in Guyana, said “the funds collected for UNRWA by the people of Guyana will contribute to alleviating the appalling humanitarian suffering currently taking place in Gaza.”

She emphasised that “UNRWA represents the backbone of the humanitarian operation in Gaza, and there is no other entity that has the ability to provide the urgently needed assistance on the scale and scope required by the people of Gaza.”

On 2 February, the government of Guyana provided a financial contribution of $150,000 to UNRWA as several countries suspended funding to the UN agency in response to Israel’s accusations that 12 of its staff in Gaza took part in the infiltration of Israeli towns around the enclave on 7 October.

Israel has repeatedly equated UNRWA staff with Hamas members in efforts to discredit them, providing no proof of the claims, while lobbying hard to have UNRWA closed as it is the only UN agency to have a specific mandate to look after the basic needs of Palestinian refugees. If the agency no longer exists, argues Israel, then the refugee issue must no longer exist, and the legitimate right for Palestinian refugees to return to their land will be unnecessary. Israel has denied that right of return since the late 1940s, even though its own membership of the UN was made conditional upon Palestinian refugees being allowed to return to their homes and land.

READ: Palestinian right of return NGO warns UN of international ‘complicity’ in genocide in Gaza