Refugees and internally displaced persons – humanitarian aid and protection of civilians

The SDC provides support for refugees and internally displaced persons. It deploys experts to the field and provides NGOs and international humanitarian agencies with funding. It also works with local authorities.

SDC focus

A major part of the SDC's humanitarian aid programmes involves providing guidance and support for refugees and internally displaced persons.

Three quarters of all refugees are concentrated in developing countries, which do not have the means to support large numbers of them or offer them effective protection. Those arriving by sea – known as boat people – can neither continue their journey nor return home. Their illegal status exposes them to threats of physical violence, theft, rape and human trafficking.

Unlike refugees, internally displaced persons have not crossed any international border, but rather have been forced to flee within their own country. As a result, they find themselves under the responsibility of the government and local authorities concerned, which are not always able or willing to exercise their responsibilities in this regard.  In such cases the international community provides them with protection in the form of direct aid, or by creating an appropriate legal framework.

Background

The SDC's immediate response to migratory movements triggered by a crisis takes the form of emergency assistance and reconstruction. But the complex, global phenomenon of migration requires many other kinds of response.

Deployment of experts

Humanitarian aid can come in a number of forms, including the deployment of experts to protect victims of armed conflict, support for local authorities and even the distribution of cash to host families taking in refugees, so that they can provide them with better living conditions.

The SDC makes experts from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) available to the UNHCR. The UNHCR benefited from the services of SHA specialists in a variety of sectors, including water and sanitation, law and the construction of shelters. In 2016, 24 SHA experts carried out missions for the UNHCR in 14 countries in Africa, Asia, South America and the Middle East.

The SDC's involvement is thus based on an interdepartmental approach, «Protection in the region». The aim of this approach is to provide prompt and effective protection for refugees in their region of origin and to help the countries of first refuge to guarantee the protection they require. The SDC’s commitment in the Horn of Africa and in the Middle East – two contexts with a significant number of displaced populations – reflects this approach.

Rebuilding beyond the crisis

A growing phenomenon

Instability in many parts of the world causes hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homeland. The UNHCR estimates that almost 61.4 million people – refugees, stateless persons, persons displaced internally by conflicts or wishing to return home – will require its protection and assistance in 2016.

Involvement in Syria

Switzerland has been providing humanitarian aid and protection for population groups affected by the Syrian crisis since 2011. The SDC provides them with assistance through direct operations carried out by the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) and through substantial financial contributions to the multilateral aid efforts of the International Committee of the Red Cross, UN agencies and NGOs on the ground.

Switzerland's commitment in Syria

Middle East

Current projects

Object 1 – 12 of 75

Strengthening regional cooperation on migration in the Western Balkans

01.06.2025 - 31.12.2027

In light of diversifying migration patterns and challenges with increasing regional dimensions, the migration policy priorities of Western Balkan governments are changing and the relevance of regional dialogue, coordination and cooperation is growing. This proposal seeks to promote coherent and effective regional governance of migration in all its multifaceted dimensions contributing to greater social cohesion and regional integration in the Western Balkans.


Ashshash: for men and women who have escaped trafficking

01.04.2023 - 31.03.2027

20,000 people (of whom 70% women) who have experienced trafficking will be economically and socially rehabilitated. Public and private institutions will provide employment or in-kind support for entrepreneurship to men and women who have escaped trafficking. The Government will better address the prevention of trafficking, protection of victims, prosecution of traffickers in the revision and enacting of policies, and create partnerships, for bringing about systemic changes.


UNHCR – Solution Strategies for Education and Livelihood of Afghan Refugees in Pakistan

01.06.2022 - 31.05.2026

As part of Switzerland’s commitment to financing sustainable solutions for Afghan refugees, the contribution to UNHCR in Pakistan aims at improving the education and livelihoods prospects of around 60’000 Afghan refugee youths in three provinces of Pakistan. It strengthens Switzerland’s pledge at the Global Refugee Forum 2019 scaling up its support to the inclusion of refugee children in education in line with “SDC’s Education Strategy.


Strengthening Systems of Secondary Cities

01.05.2022 - 30.04.2026

Rooted in the Swiss principle of subsidiarity the programme will enable local government authorities in secondary cities affected by migration and forced displacement to engage with key stakeholders, including the private sector, to consolidate their urban planning and management skills while securing access to financial and technical resources. It will further strengthen cities’ advocacy capacities to make their voices heard in national, regional and multilateral dialogues with a view to disseminate and learn about best practices on migrants’ integration. 


Fair and ethical recruitment of migrant workers

01.02.2022 - 31.12.2024

Approximately 105 million people are currently working outside their country of origin. Many of these migrant workers have profited from international labour recruitment intermediaries. Millions, however, have become victims of abusive and exploitative practices by unethical recruiters. Working together with different actors, SDC will support initiatives to ensure fair and ethical recruitment. Migrants and their families will be better protected and thereby better enabled to contribute to the development of their countries of origin and destination.


Building Regional and National capacities for improved Migration Governance in the IGAD Region

01.01.2022 - 31.08.2027

The Horn of Africa is of high interest for Switzerland in terms of migration policy. Swiss support to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and its Member States will contribute to improve their migration governance capacities so as to enable the organisation to effectively implement regional, continental and global regulatory standards for the protection of refugees and vulnerable migrants in the region.


International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS)

01.12.2021 - 30.11.2024

When recruitment is fair and ethical, it benefits migrant workers, employers, as well as governments in countries of origin and destination. Switzerland partners with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on the consolidation of the International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS), a global initiative to promote ethical international recruitments that engages different actors. Engaging with the private sector will be at the center of this phase. 


Strengthening the capacities of Community-Based Organisations serving migrants in Egypt

01.12.2021 - 30.11.2024

In Egypt, Community Based Organisations (CBOs) are key actors in responding to migrants and forcibly displaced persons’ basic needs especially amid COVID 19 pandemic. Building on lessons learnt from the first phase, CBOs will be further empowered to become more financially sustainable in order to continue providing quality services and advocate for migrants and forcibly displaced persons’ needs and rights in the donor community and with decision makers. 


Financing Durable Solutions Programme for Forcibly Displaced People (FDSI)

01.10.2021 - 31.12.2025

Through an innovative approach, Switzerland will mobilize the private sector and municipalities to contribute to durable solutions for displacement-affected communities in the Horn of Africa. Forcibly displaced persons and their host communities will benefit from enhanced self-reliance and increased socioeconomic inclusion. The initiative operationalises the strategic link between migration policy and international cooperation and further strengthens Switzerland’s profile as a pioneer in the search for durable solutions.


Supporting the operationalisation of the temporary reception center for migrants Lipa

01.10.2021 - 30.06.2022

Migrant reception centres in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) do not have sufficient capacities; more than a thousand migrants are without shelter. They squat in empty houses and forests, leading to tensions with the surrounding local communities. Switzerland contributes to international efforts to support the BiH government in providing decent reception capacities for 1,500 people in Una-Sana canton, where most of the migrants are stranded. This helps to improve the authorities’ capacity to manage migration and to reduce conflict potential.


SKYE - Skills Development for Youth Employment

01.09.2021 - 31.08.2023

Over 43% of the potential working population in Nigeria is either unemployed or underemployed and Edo State’s employment rate recently dropped below the national average. Edo also constitutes an important source of irregular migration as well as the epicenter of human trafficking in the country. Through its contribution to the SKYE program, Switzerland aims to improve the range of active labor market measures by building capacities within the institutions delivering job-matching services and professional training.


PROMISE - Poverty Reduction Through Safe Migration, Skills Development and Enhanced Job Placement in Cambodia, Laos PDR, Myanmar and Thailand

01.09.2021 - 31.08.2025

Labour migration is a key poverty reduction and economic development strategy for jobless people in the Mekong region. The last phase of this regional programme will focus on the sustainability and upscaling of support to migrant workers from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar to access skills development and decent employment in Thailand and when returning home. Switzerland addresses their needs with a regional approach together with the International Organisation for Migration, governments and the private sector by strengthening regional and national policies and systems.

Object 1 – 12 of 75