By Beyza Binnur Donmez
ISTANBUL (AA) - Switzerland on Friday pledged 40 million Swiss francs ($42.5 million) to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
In a statement, the country’s Federal Council said that UNRWA will receive 20 million Swiss francs annually for the years 2023 and 2024.
"With these funds, Switzerland is reaffirming its commitment to human development, humanitarian action and regional stability," it said.
According to the government, 96% of the Palestinian refugees who are still living in Syria depend on humanitarian aid provided by UNRWA for their survival, while in Lebanon, 73% of Palestinian refugees live below the poverty line.
The government also said that the agency plays “a key role as a stabilizing factor in the region.”
The situation of Palestinian refugees in the region, particularly in Lebanon and Syria, has been exacerbated by conflicts over the past decade, it said.
It also underlined that the 710 UNRWA-run schools in the region serve some 540,000 children and there are 143 primary health care centers run by the agency in the region, providing 3.1 million Palestinian refugees with access to high-quality health services each year.