Switzerland decides to contribute over $11M to UNRWA for Gaza

Contribution to UN agency for Palestinian refugees will cover 'most pressing basic needs, such as food, water, shelter, basic healthcare, logistics,' says country's Federal Council

13:39 - 8/05/2024 Çarşamba
File photo
File photo

Switzerland on Wednesday decided to contribute 10 million Swiss francs (over $11 million) to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), focusing on the basic needs of the people in Gaza.

"The CHF 10 million contribution is exclusively earmarked for Gaza and will be used to provide the urgent assistance specified in the UNRWA Flash Appeal for the occupied Palestinian territory covering the period April–December 2024," the Federal Council said in a statement following its meeting.

The contribution "will be restricted to Gaza and will cover the most pressing basic needs, such as food, water, shelter, basic healthcare and logistics," it said.

The council also said it took into account the conclusions of the report by the independent review group led by former French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna while making its contribution decision. Colonna's report, published on April 22 and aimed to examine the neutrality of UNRWA, noted that the agency has a robust monitoring system in place.

The Federal Council will submit this decision to the foreign affairs committees of the National Council and Council of States for consultation, according to the statement.

The council also reiterated Switzerland's call for a humanitarian cease-fire, unhindered access to emergency aid to Gaza, compliance with international humanitarian law, and the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.

Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip in retaliation for an Oct. 7 attack by Hamas which killed about 1,200 people. Nearly 34,800 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza, mostly women and children, and 78,100 others injured, according to Palestinian health authorities.

Over seven months into the Israeli war, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins, pushing 85% of the enclave's population into internal displacement amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water, and medicine, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January said it is "plausible" that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza and ordered Tel Aviv to stop such acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

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