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Finn Church Aid (FCA)

Profile

Country/TerritoryFinland

Activity

  • Finn Church Aid “is the largest Finnish development cooperation organisation and the second largest provider of humanitarian aid.”
  • Operates in 17 countries worldwide.
  • Claims that its “actions are guided by international human rights standards and principles such as equality and non-discrimination, participation and accountability.”

Funding

  • In 2016, total income was €35.4 million; total expenses were €34.7 million.
  • In 2016, Finn Church Aid’s Middle East Program’s budget was €3.3 million. Of this funding, €480,000 was designated towards the “Palestinian Territories.”
    • In 2016, FCA received €900,000 from Finland (Ministry for Foreign Affairs) and €1.1 million from private and corporate donations to be used in the Middle East.
  • Donors include Finland (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), United States (USAID), United Kingdom (DFID), European Union (ECHO, EuropeAid), Denmark (Danida), and the United Nations (UNDP, UNICEF).
  • Finn Church Aid has granted NIS 432,713 (2013-2016) to Zochrot, an Israeli NGO that supports a “one-state” framework and a Palestinian “right of return.”
  • In 2016, FinnChurchAid granted €70,000 to Rabbis for Human Rights to educate “850 students in pre-military academies that prepare Israeli youth for their military service” on “different religions and in doing so to ‘humanize’ the other in their eyes.”
  • According to its 2015 Annual Report, FCA reported severe financial problems, causing it to “end some development projects, close down one field office and lay off some personnel. We were forced to completely close down our operations in five countries.” (Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala, Honduras, Haiti, and Lebanon.)

Ties to EAPPI

Funding

  • In 2015, EAPPI received €122,200 from the Finnish MFA Partnership with Finn Church Aid.

Activities

  • According to EAPPI Finland, “In Finland, the Foreign Ministry is responsible for selecting and coaching the observers. The Church’s Foreign Aid is a partnership between the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Ministry finances Finland’s EAPPI activities with partner organizations. Partner organizations are required to have a clearly defined development cooperation program that is in line with the Finnish development policy objectives.”
  • In 2015, FCA sent 13 Ecumenical Accompaniers (EA) on the EAPPI program.
  • In 2016, EAPPI launched a campaign to “shed light into the increasing number of house demolitions in the West Bank, with an appeal for Finnish decision makers to act to prevent the house demolitions.”
  • In a public May 2016 event held in London, an EAPPI activist made antisemitic comments (referring to a ”Jewish lobby” in America), accused Israel of planting knives beside the bodies of Palestinian terrorists, and promoted BDS.
  • In 2015, EAPPI held a photo exhibition in Finland that “depicted life under occupation.”
  • In 2015, EAs “spread the word about a report on operation Protective Edge by the Israeli organisation Breaking the Silence in Finland.”
  • In 2014, Finn Church Aid and EAPPI traveled to major university campuses in Finland, alleging that Israel victimizes and discriminates against the Palestinian population and “vindictively persecutes” Palestinian children.
  • EAs in Finland have been active in lobbying on the issue of the EU’s labelling of settlement products, “appealing also to MEPs, e.g. during the annual EAPPI lobby trips to Brussels, arranged by WCC.”
    • In May 2012, FinnChurchAid and EAPPI launched a campaign to “mark products from the settlements to tell their true origin…The settlements are a key obstacle to peace in the Middle East. They also involve serious human rights abuses.”

Political Advocacy

Partners

  • Partners with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI).
  • Finn Church Aid also partners with Rabbis for Human Rights to provide training for “young Israelis on human rights issues before their military service and fosters understanding about the occupation, its implications on people living under such circumstances and minorities’ rights.”
  • Founding member of the ACT Alliance, a coalition of 144 churches and church-related organizations.
    • The ACT Alliance promotes demonizing rhetoric against Israel; international boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS) campaigns; as well as the Kairos Palestine document, which denies Jewish historical connections to Israel.
    • Supported the EU’s decision to label products exported from Israeli communities over the 1967 ceasefire line, calling it “an important measure towards ensuring continued, full and effective implementation of existing EU legislation.”
  • Member of ACT Palestine Forum, a coalition for “improving the efficiency and effectiveness of ACT responses through enhanced cooperation and coordination.”
    • Advocacy goals include contributing “to a global discourse on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that addresses the consequences of occupation, promotes access of individuals to resources, and ultimately brings an end to the occupation” and targeting “Christian communities on the International level…by stressing Christians’ suffering in the Holy Land and seek to preserve Christians presence in Palestine.”
    • Urges “various forms of boycott of settlement products,” accusing Israel of denying “Palestinians their fundamental rights of freedom, equality, and self-determination through military occupation.”
    • Published a February 2013 Advocacy Paper, “The ‘Permit Regime’ and Israeli Attacks on Palestinian Freedom of Worship,” alleging that “Under Israeli military occupation, repression has become the worst of history compared to that of South Africa. It’s a sophisticated form of social, economic, political and racial discrimination, strangulation, and genocide, incorporating the worst elements of colonialism and apartheid as well as repressive dispossession, displacement and state terrorism to separate Palestinians from their land and heritage, deny them their rightful civil and human rights, and gradually remove or eliminate them altogether. The ID/permit system is one of many elements designed to make greater Israel an ethnically pure Jewish state.”
  • FCA maintains a partnership agreement with the Humanitarian Aid Office ECHO of the European Commission and is a member of APRODEV, the EU lobbying arm of the WCC, which seeks to “support a just peace that ends the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.”

Archive of Articles about Finn Church Aid (FCA)