Pro-Palestine rally in Sweden (File photo)
At its meeting on 2 December 2022, the Federal Council approved Switzerland's continued support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
UNRWA will receive CHF 20 million annually for the years 2023 and 2024. With these funds, Switzerland is reaffirming its commitment to human development, humanitarian action and regional stability.
Switzerland's allocation of CHF 20 million per year (CHF 40 million in total) for the period 2023–24 will enable UNRWA to continue operating despite the challenging situation.
Switzerland's funding for UNRWA will continue to be primarily focused on programmes aimed at providing Palestinian refugees with access to high-quality education, healthcare, social services, microfinance facilities and infrastructure.
In the absence of a political solution to the conflict, UNRWA continues to play a key role as a stabilising factor in the region. The long years of blockade and hostilities on the Gaza Strip, the conflict that has raged in Syria since 2011 and the economic crisis in Lebanon are taking a heavy toll on Palestinian refugees.
The occupied Palestinian territory and neighbouring countries are bearing the brunt of this situation. For example, 96% of the Palestinian refugees who are still living in Syria depend on humanitarian aid provided by UNRWA for their survival. Some 60% of these refugees have been displaced from their home districts at least once since the conflict began. In Lebanon, 73% of Palestinian refugees live below the poverty line.