Protection in the regions of origin

Switzerland works to protect refugees, migrants and internally displaced persons in countries of first refuge and along migratory routes, and is committed to their long-term integration.

The UN estimates that there are currently over 26 million refugees and 46 million internally displaced persons worldwide, many of whom are adolescents and children. An unknown number of migrants can also be added to this figure.

About three quarters of all refugees in the world live in Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East – often in developing countries with limited resources to absorb large numbers of refugees, provide them with effective protection or help them to integrate sustainably.

If refugees and migrants do not receive adequate protection in these countries of first refuge, they are often forced to move on, mostly along dangerous routes, to other countries and regions. They run the risk of falling victim to human trafficking and other human rights violations or resorting to the services of people smugglers.

Missing migrants

Every year, thousands of migrants try to get to Europe by crossing the Mediterranean. Many of them die or disappear in the attempt. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that in 2019 at least 1,885 people died or disappeared whilst attempting to cross the sea. It is also highly likely that a large number of cases go unreported. In order to prevent this from happening and help search for and identify migrants who have died or disappeared, Switzerland supports the ICRC, IOM and, in particular, the International Commission on Missing Persons in developing a cooperation mechanism in the Mediterranean region.

Correlation between conflict, peacebuilding and migration

Armed conflict, fragility and systematic human rights violations are all drivers of displacement, which in turn impacts on conflicts and the dynamics of conflict transformation depending on the context.

Switzerland has set itself the goal of ensuring that its peace policy programmes and instruments exploit this correlation constructively in order to address the root causes of forced migration and mitigate its negative effects on stability and security.