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

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Afghanistan: IOM Undocumented Afghan Returnees

15.02.2019 - 31.12.2022

In 2016, over a million Afghans who previously sought refuge in Pakistan and Iran returned to Afghanistan. Since the beginning of 2018, 700,056 undocumented Afghans have returned from both countries, due to diverse push factors including deteriorating protection space. The projecting for the year 2019 of undocumented Afghan returnees will be approx. 49,000 from Pakistan and 570,000 from Iran. The vast majority of them have lived outside of Afghanistan for decades, and are in dire need for humanitarian assistance, which they will receive through this project.


Moldova - Making the Most of Migration

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2022

One third of Moldovans already live abroad and the Government acknowledges that migration can bring many opportunities, if addressed and managed properly. SDC`s previous interventions resulted in a unique mobilization of migrants committed to contribute to the development of their home communities. Switzerland will further support Moldova in building a favorable environment for migrants to invest in their home country, as well as to provide good quality return and reintegration services.


Return and Reintegration of Migrant Workers in Bangladesh

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2021

The project’s over-arching goal is to make reintegration economically and socially sustainable for returnee migrants, so that they do not feel obliged to re-migrate. The project will raise awareness of the obstacles returnee men and women migrants are facing. The collaboration with European partners will allow to influence the discourse on dignified and development-oriented migration and return in Bangladesh


Stay, Deliver and Protect (SDP)

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2022

Afghanistan continues to face a protracted humanitarian crisis. Armed conflict results in large-scale population displacements and a high number of civilian casualties. Insecurity causes significant challenges to humanitarian access and responses, especially where they are needed most. "Stay, Deliver and Protect" aims to facilitate humanitarian access and to promote protection of education, protection of civilians, psychosocial support and humanitarian coordination in conflict-affected communities.


East African Migration Routes Project EAMRP (Phase 1)

01.01.2019 - 31.01.2024

With a regional migration program, Switzerland contributes to better protection, otovÏde livelihood perspectives and promote adequate policies for children and youth along the migration route in Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, Different SQ(ss and non-States actors are strengthened t) betty respond te mig-ant children end youth' s needs, address their risks to exploitation, and violence. This programme builds on the linK between international cooperation and migration policy in priority


Application of Migration Policy for Decent Work of Migrant Workers

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2021

Men and women who opt for migrating abroad for employment will benefit from better protection through pre-departure orientation, the application of international standard contracts and access to social security/welfare. The project will improve migration governance in Bangladesh by strengthening the rather weak policy and legislative framework and by building the capacity of the government to expand and improve services for migrant workers.


SDC Education Fund

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2022

As part of its increased commitment for Education and of the implementation of SDC’s Education Strategy, the SDC launches an Education Fund in order to incentivize innovation and the application of new approaches in basic education/vocational skills development and through educational activities across sectors. Innovation can have a catalytic effect on the effectiveness of programmes in and through education. Education is a core enabler for sustainable development and is an important lever in Switzerland’s commitment to promote human and economic development, peace and stability. 


Ethiopia, IOM - Durable Solutions

10.12.2018 - 09.06.2021

Ethiopia has about 2.1 million internally displaced people (IDPs) mainly due to conflict, drought and flood. Addressing the needs of IDPs has been limited to meeting their short-term humanitarian needs. Given the prolonged economic, social, and gender impacts of displacement on individuals, there is a critical need for longer-term solutions. Switzerland will contribute through IOM to address the long-term needs of the displaced and host communities in their search for self-sufficiency.


Kenya: IFC Private Sector Engagement Kakuma

10.12.2018 - 31.12.2024

The project IFC Private Sector Engagement Kakuma implemented by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), seeks to attract private sector solutions for refugees and host communities through catalyzing private investments. Thanks to access to improved services, potentially lower prices and supported jobs, refugees and host community will enhance economic opportunities and capacities, self-esteem, dignity and empowerment.


Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD)

01.12.2018 - 31.08.2024

Migration is one of the 21st century’s defining features that significantly impacts economic and social development. It is thus crucial to ensure that the positive effects of migration on development are maximized, while the negative ones minimized. This is only possible if reliable evidence on migration and its interrelations with development is available. KNOMAD generates ground-breaking research and policy recommendations in the field of M&D. Switzerland has taken a lead in building-up KNOMAD as a pioneering knowledge initiative.


Africa-Europe Diaspora Development Platform (ADEPT)

01.12.2018 - 31.12.2021

Africa and Europe are intrinsically linked with respect to migration. Swiss support to the pioneering Africa-Europe Diaspora Development Platform (ADEPT) contributes to strengthening the capacities of African Diaspora Development Organisations based in Europe, including in Switzerland, to promote sustained development in Africa. As ADEPT and its members are active throughout the African continent, a support to the platform allows an outreach in Africa with a relatively limited financial investment.


Egyptian Red Crescent: Providing primary health care services to migrants and Egyptians in Greater Cairo

01.12.2018 - 31.12.2021

Access to public primary health care for migrants and Egyptians is a serious challenge. By the means of two “Mobile Clinics”, the project will answer to immediate medical needs of migrants and Egyptians in Greater Cairo. Advocacy on protection and health issues among decision makers will contribute to filling the gaps in service delivery. Thanks to its experience and ongoing engagement in health and protection in Egypt, Switzerland is well placed to provide early recovery and self-resilience interventions.

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