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 68

Water and Comprehensive Sanitation Project in Rural Areas (ASIR – SABA), Phase III

01.06.2020 - 31.07.2022

The ASIR-SABA Project aims to contribute to the sustainable management and governance of water and sanitation, as well as public health, as a contribution to the consolidation of peace in rural areas of the country. To achieve its objective, the project promotes dialogue between the different actors of the WASH sector in Colombia. It also aims to strengthen the capacities at the community and institutional level (national, departmental and municipal) for the co-management of water and sanitation in rural areas of the country.

Based on the achievements capitalized by the project in its first and second phases and the challenges and opportunities identified with the different governmental actors of the WASH sector in Colombia, the SDC implements the third and final phase of the ASIR-SABA project.


Global solutions for migration related challenges

01.01.2020 - 31.03.2023

The challenges and opportunities linked to migration require a coordinated response from the international community that goes beyond individual country measures. For this reason, Switzerland works towards an effective global migration governance that enables cooperation among states and other stakeholders (private sector, civil society). Switzerland also supports evidence-based policy making and the development of global solutions to contemporary migration challenges that benefit migrants and their families, as well as countries of origin and destination.


Migration de travail et développement économique en Afrique de l'Ouest

01.01.2020 - 31.05.2025

La migration en Afrique de l’Ouest est en grande partie intra régionale, et se fait principalement à des fins de travail. Grâce à sa longue expérience en migration et développement (M&D), la Suisse vise à faciliter la contribution des migrant-e-s au développement socio-économique de la sous-région par la voie d'initiatives qui ont trait à leur protection, leur meilleure inclusion dans les zones urbaines, ainsi qu’à leur plus grande implication dans les trajectoires de développement des pays concernés. 


IDB Migration Initiative (Clean drinking water and sanitation program for la Guajira)

01.10.2019 - 30.09.2022

Switzerland supports to the newly created Migration Initiative of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) that was created in support of Latin American and Caribbean migrants and their host communities and accordingly contributes to deter grave development crisis by empowering communities to foster integration and consequently to strengthen stability of the region and Colombia in particular.


Labour Migration governance for development and integration in Africa

01.10.2019 - 31.12.2025

An effective labour migration governance is an important element of regional economic integration and development. Switzerland has a longstanding expertise in labour migration at the global and regional level and an interest in furthering economic development on the African continent. Through this programme, Switzerland partners with the Africa Union towards the establishment of a permanent coherent mechanism to manage the migration of African migrant workers, thereby contributing to the creation of socio-economic perspectives on the African continent.


Kenya: Promoting Life Skills and Livelihoods in Kakuma Refugee Camp

01.09.2019 - 31.08.2022

The Horn of Africa is marked by large numbers of displaced people[1] of whom almost 189’000 are living in Kakuma, Northern Kenya. The project Promoting Life Skills and Livelihoods contributes to enhanced capacities and economic opportunities, self-esteem, dignity and empowerment for refugees and host community through the provision of technical, life and basic skills training to youth. This provides them with improved opportunities for socio economic integration.

 

[1] IDPs and refugees

 

 


Decent Work for Migrant Workers from South Asia (DWSA)

01.08.2019 - 31.07.2023

Labour migration to the Middle East is an important factor in the economic development strategy of many South Asian countries. Due to its known expertise and experience in the areas of decent work and fair recruitment, Switzerland is well placed to contribute to migrants’ access to decent work, thus maximizing the productive potential of migration and addressing irregular and unsafe migration. In the interest of Switzerland, this programme contributes to the prosperity in the region.  


Understanding and Managing internal migration in Mongolia

Ulaanbaatar city suburban distrct view

01.08.2019 - 31.07.2023

This project aims to contribute to improved management of internal migration in Mongolia - the main driving force behind rapid urbanization which poses increasing development challenges to the capital city Ulaanbaatar and rural areas of origin. Consistent integration of the migration perspective into planning and implementation of policies and actions will mitigate negative consequences of unmanaged migration and thus contribute to poverty reduction. Switzerland will add value to the project through its long-standing expertise in the migration field.


Decent Work for Migrants in the Middle East

15.07.2019 - 30.06.2023

This program contributes to decent work opportunities for migrants and refugees in the Middle East which is one of the largest migrant hosting regions globally due to economic demands and displacement from conflict. It complements the focus on Asian migrants with migrants from Africa and seek closer partnership with the private sector. Due to its relevant expertise and experience in decent work and fair recruitment, Switzerland is well placed to contribute to an improved protection and an enhanced wellbeing of migrant workers and self-reliance for refugees, to maximize the productive potential of migration, and to counter irregular and unsafe migration.


Enhance employability of migrants in Urban Cairo

01.07.2019 - 30.06.2023

Food-processing and the food service sector is ranked as Egypt’s second largest manufacturing industry This project supports the employability of vulnerable Egyptians and migrants, especially women, in the food sector.


IOM : Displacement tracking in Burundi

01.03.2019 - 31.12.2019

Avec environ 147'000 personnes déplacées internes et plus de 367'000 réfugiés dans les pays voisins, les effets de la crise politique au Burundi issue des élections contestées de 2015 et des conditions climatiques défavorables sont importants. Ce projet permet de fournir des informations fiables sur les mouvements de populations internes au Burundi et les besoins des personnes déplacées. La continuité de ce projet reste d’une importance capitale dans le contexte actuel.


Housing solutions for displaced persons

Apartment building in Serbia

01.03.2019 - 31.12.2022

As a consequence of the war in the 1990s, over three million people were displaced both within and beyond the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia. Twenty-five years after the Dayton Accords, the Western Balkans are still host to almost half a million vulnerable persons displaced by conflict in the former Yugoslavia. The Regional Housing Programme (RHP) aims to provide durable housing solutions for refugees and internally displaced persons in need.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Western Balkans
Migration
Forced displacement (refugees, IDP, human trafficking)

01.03.2019 - 31.12.2022


CHF  1’555’000


Object 13 – 24 of 68