Protection in the region

Switzerland supports countries of first refuge in providing prompt and effective protection for refugees, migrants and internally displaced persons. To this end, it created the ‘Protection in the Region’ migration foreign policy instrument. Switzerland has launched corresponding programmes in the Horn of Africa and in the Middle East.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that there are currently over 27 million refugees and 41 million internally displaced persons, many of whom are children and young people. On top of this, there are millions more people who do not fall under the UNHCR's mandate.

About three quarters of all refugees in the world live in Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East – often in developing countries that are in no position to absorb large numbers of refugees and to provide them with effective protection.

Supporting countries of first refuge and reducing dangerous onward migration

If refugees and migrants do not receive adequate protection in the 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.

Human trafficking