Controversy: Switzerland will ultimately pay 10 million to UNRWA

Controversy: Switzerland will ultimately pay 10 million to UNRWA
Controversy: Switzerland will ultimately pay 10 million to UNRWA

Switzerland will ultimately pay 10 million francs to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA). The Federal Council made this decision on Wednesday after months of controversy. The Swiss contribution was initially expected to amount to 20 million.

The 10 million francs are intended exclusively for Gaza to cover urgent needs (archives).


This payment is a response to the appeal for humanitarian aid launched by UNRWA, the government wrote in a press release. It is intended exclusively for Gaza to cover the most urgent needs of the organization, for the period from April to December 2024: food, water, accommodation, primary health care and logistics.

In Gaza, 2.3 million people, including 1.7 million displaced people, are dependent on emergency assistance. The United Nations warns of the imminent risk of famine. The Federal Council “recognizes this emergency situation”.

Decision suspended

UNRWA has been in turmoil since Israel’s accusations targeting the agency and some of its employees, accused of direct support to Hamas during the bloody attacks of October 7. Various donor countries had suspended their contributions to UNRWA in January due to the accusations. Many of them have since resumed payments.

Initially, Switzerland was to pay 20 million francs for 2024. These funds have been suspended since last December, pending a decision from the Federal Council. The latter had to consult the foreign policy committees on this highly controversial issue, according to the wishes of Parliament.

Colonna Report

The current decision takes into account the findings of the report of the independent review group led by former French foreign minister Catherine Colonna, the government continues. This report aimed to examine the neutrality of UNRWA.

He notes that the organization has a strong monitoring system. However, it makes 50 recommendations to further strengthen the neutrality of the organization, particularly in the areas of communication, educational materials and the use of infrastructure.

Parliament’s foreign policy committees will have to decide on the Swiss contribution. Recently, that of the National Council had recommended to the Federal Council to release part of the 20 million planned. But she also demands that Switzerland no longer pay any money to UNRWA in the medium term.

nipa, ats



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