Protection in the Region

The vast majority of refugees worldwide live in Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East, i.e. often in developing countries that do not have sufficient resources to accept large numbers of refugees and offer them real protection. Many refugees and other migrants in need of protection are thus forced to move on to other countries and regions. Given this situation, Switzerland decided to launch specific programmes for improving the protection of refugees and migrants in their regions of origin. These programmes form part of the "Protection in the Region" (PiR) initiative, which was adopted by the Plenum of the Interdepartmental Task Force on Migration in 2007.


Swiss involvement in PiR seeks to ensure prompt and effective protection for refugees in their regions of origin and to assist countries of first refuge in giving such persons the protection they need. This should help to reduce onward irregular migration, which often places migrants in serious danger, and may thus lead to fewer asylum applications in Switzerland.


Efforts to achieve these goals include supporting national authorities in developing a fair and efficient asylum procedure and improving the living conditions of refugees. There are also plans to find sustainable solutions, such as facilitated voluntary return to the home country, promoting sustainable local integration, and resettlement of refugee groups (currently Syrians) in third countries.


The "Protection in the Region" programme will now be implemented in two regions. The PiR programme in the Horn of Africa and Yemen is an important element of the migration component of Switzerland’s Horn of Africa strategy for 2013-2016. Due to the crisis in Syria, a second PiR programme is now being implemented in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Syria.

Whole-of-government approach

The design and implementation of the Swiss PiR concept is based on a whole-of-government approach, i.e. inter-departmental coordination and cooperation within the Swiss Confederation.

The main agencies involved are the State Secretariat for Migration as well as the Directorate of Political Affairs (Human Security Division) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.


Horn of Africa

Middle East

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