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 13 – 24 of 74

Supporting the Security Sector Reform (SSR) Process in The Gambia

01.07.2021 - 30.06.2024

The Gambia, which is a priority country in regard to Swiss migration interest, initiated a national SSR process in 2017. Based on 3 years of in-depth research and support to this process, in 2021 DCAF launched a new program to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the Gambian security sector. Through its contribution, Switzerland aims to improve the quality of services provided to local communities by the immigration department by strengthening its management and accountability.


Reintegration of Returnee Migrant Workers Project

01.01.2021 - 31.05.2027

The project will contribute to ensure migrant workers benefit fully from their migration experience by supporting the reintegration of returnee migrant workers in Nepal. It will work with the Nepali Government to provide reintegration services and support policy development to anchor them in the federal structure. Switzerland has a key interest that the potential of migration for development is fully used and is well positioned to engage on the topic, given its track record in migration in Nepal. 


KFPE - Kommission für Forschungspartnerschaften mit Entwicklungsländern

01.01.2021 - 31.12.2024

Die Kommission für Forschungspartnerschaften mit Entwicklungsländern ist die zentrale Schweizer Informations-, Austausch- und Lernplattform für die Forschungszusammenarbeit im und mit dem globalen Süden. Seit über 25 Jahren fördert sie effiziente, wirksame und gleichberechtigte Nord-Süd Forschungspartnerschaften.  


Financial support to the Programme of Work and Budget of the OECD Development Center 2021-2022

01.01.2021 - 31.12.2022

The Development Center of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is a policy oriented institution which conducts studies and provides platforms for dialogues and knowledge sharing between OECD and non OECD countries. Switzerland’s support to the Center contributes to the development of inclusive and responsive public policies that foster sustainable and inclusive growth with the objective to reduce poverty and inequalities in emerging and developing economies.  


Facilitating Safe and Skilled Migration on the Central Asia - Russian Federation/Kazakhstan Corridor

01.12.2020 - 31.12.2025

Labor migration to Russia and Kazakhstan constitute a lifeline for millions of families in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, but its poor regulation negatively affects its development benefits. The program aims at enhancing labor mobility governance along the Central Asia-Russia/Kazakhstan migration corridor. By facilitating pre-departure orientation and skills-matching interventions for prospective migrants, it will foster migrant workers’ protection and enhancethe livelihood perspectives for the poorest in Central Asia. The program builds on Swiss migration expertise and contributes to the strategic link between international cooperation and migration policy.


Decent work, protection and well-being for migrant workers and their families in Sri Lanka

01.09.2020 - 31.08.2024

The programme aims to maximise the benefits of migration for sustainable development in Sri Lanka. It will support government institutions and other actors in implementing policies related to fair and ethical recruitment, skills development and provide reintegration support for returning migrants in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. A special focus is placed on elevating migrant workers’ voices in advocacy. The intervention creates entry points to engage with the newly elected government in Sri Lanka. 


Youth For the Future

01.09.2020 - 31.12.2024

Switzerland promotes socio-economic inclusion of vulnerable youth to enable sustainable development in Egypt. The project “Youth for Future” strengthens protection and provides better livelihood opportunities for youth to facilitate their access to employment and promote social cohesion.  Egypt and Switzerland share a common interest to bring new perspectives to vulnerable young Egyptians, refugees and migrants with special focus on young women and in setting a favorable framework to promote inclusive socio-economic integration.


Facing COVID-19 together

25.08.2020 - 25.09.2021

Switzerland provides support to address health and socio-economic vulnerabilities of migrant and Egyptian children and their families, who are hit by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The implementing partner organisation “Save the children” is well positioned to help mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, trough better access to primary health care, psycho-social support and multipurpose cash assistance.


PSTIC: Provision of protection and humanitarian assistance to vulnerable migrants in Greater Cairo

21.08.2020 - 31.12.2021

The increase in migrants and refugees residing in Egypt, coupled with shrinking humanitarian funding are leaving many at protection risk. With new challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the protection risks have risen and needs are exacerbated. This project will respond to the immediate protection needs of refugees and migrants by providing a comprehensive package of gender sensitive emergency protection services in Greater Cairo, with a special focus on women and children at risk. 


Mitigating the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on migrants and their families from Central Asia .

01.08.2020 - 31.05.2021

Migrants from CA and their families are severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Hundreds of thousands stranded in the RF without income or social protection. Their families are affected too, as they depend on remittances, which do not flow anymore due to the crisis. Contributing to the IOM response plan, Switzerland ensures that migration data gaps are addressed, that the most vulnerable migrants receive assistance, and that migrants’ families get increased access to digital remittances. 


PACUM – Programme d’Appui aux Communes Urbaines du Mali

01.08.2020 - 31.12.2023

Au Mali, la faiblesse des ressources financières et humaines des communes limite leurs capacités à fournir des services de qualité aux populations. La Suisse cofinance une 2ème phase du Programme visant l’amélioration de l’accès aux services de base par le biais de l’augmentation des transferts de ressources de l’Etat  central vers les communes. Le programme contribue au développement économique local, à une urbanisation durable, à une fiscalité locale améliorée et, par conséquent, à plus de stabilité.


COVID-19 - Prevention and Recovery in the Mekong Region

01.08.2020 - 30.09.2022

Vulnerable groups in Laos and Cambodia suffered disproportionally from the Covid-19 socio-economic crisis affecting their income, as well as access to public services and employment. Swiss support will combine institutional strengthening of local actors and provision of public services, skills development, access to credit and support to returning migrants. The long-term experience of Switzerland and trusted relationships with governments add value to the intervention

Object 13 – 24 of 74