Catholic charity Caritas: Switzerland should take 5,000 refugees from Syria

The Swiss Federal Council decided last September to take in around 500 refugees within three years. The refugees are selected from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Those most vulnerable – especially children, single women, the elderly and the sick will benefit from the so-called resettlement program.

At the UN donor conference earlier, Switzerland also promised to provide humanitarian aid worth 30 million Swiss francs ($34 million US).

But this is not enough for the Caritas Agency. In an open letter published on Tuesday to President Didier Burkhalter it wants increased funding for Syrians displaced by the war. Switzerland needs to provide 100 million francs ($113m).

This increase was necessary in view of the misery of the refugees, writes Caritas. Switzerland must stand with their “humanitarian tradition” in this responsibility. Diplomatic efforts such as the Geneva conference on Syria, where Switzerland acted as the hostess of mediation talks are not enough.

As a UN member, the country must “insist with determination that the killing of civilians cease and aid agencies have access to the needy.”

Finally Caritas is firmly of the opinion that the officials in Switzerland so far have shown little generosity when it comes to the intake of Syrian refugees. The planned intake of 500 refugees should therefore be increased to 2016 to 5,000 people.

Switzerland has taken a much higher number of Hungarian, Czech and Indochinese refugees without any major problems, the Agency claims.

As the Swiss NGO points out in its open letter, the plight of refugees in the scarred by civil war is huge. During the period of three years, 2.6 million people have fled from Syria into neighboring countries. More than 6.5 million people are displaced inside the country. Overall, half of the Syrian population is dependent on humanitarian aid.

Since the outbreak of the crisis in Syria in March 2011, the federal humanitarian aid for those displaced by war has been a total of 55 million francs ($55m). Caritas emergency relief projects in favor of the Syrian refugees in the amount of 7.9 million Swiss francs ($8.8m) have spent in the past two years.

The Swiss people have shown interest in increased funding in recent years. According to Caritas Swiss NGOs have received private donations worth some 16.5 million francs ($18.5m). (in German)

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(1 Swiss franc = $1.13 US) Just keep those Muslims from Syria coming in. They will integrate easily, just as well as Hungarians or Czechs!

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