Äthiopien Berufsbildung | © Patrick Rohr / Helvetas
05. November 2018

Helvetas calls for a humane migration policy

© Patrick Rohr / Helvetas

Switzerland must make an international commitment to regulate and shape global migration humanely. That includes approving the UN Global Compact for Migration in December. In addition, the independent development organization Helvetas has urged Swiss policymakers and administrations to take eight steps to effectively address the causes of flight.

Global migration is a reality - with opportunities and challenges. For it to have a positive impact on development in countries of origin and destination, it must be regulated and shaped in the same way as the Global Compact for Migration aims to do. In December, Switzerland should approve the Compact that it helped to draft and contribute to its implementation.

"We demand that government and policymakers adopt and implement a coherent development, climate and migration policy that is committed to the humanitarian tradition of our country and to sustainable development," says Geert van Dok, responsible for development policy at Helvetas. The Federal Council needs to strengthen development cooperation, which fights poverty and exclusion and creates prospects locally, which can reduce individual migration drivers. Causes of flight such as persecution, violent conflicts and human rights violations, on the other hand, can only be influenced by political means.

Focus on vocational training

In its new position paper "Across Borders. Why We Must Shape Migration", Helvetas outlines what the demand for a fair and sustainable migration policy means in concrete terms and why it is crucial. Based on its many years of experience in development cooperation, Helvetas calls on the Swiss Federal Council, Administration and Parliament to take eight migration and development policy steps. Helvetas demands in particular that:

- the Federal Council strengthens peaceful mediation in conflicts as a foreign policy objective - among other things, it must not under any circumstances authorize the export of war material to civil war countries.

- Switzerland steps up its humanitarian aid on the ground and along escape and migration routes.

- To prevent even more climate refugees, the Confederation significantly increases its efforts in climate policy and steps up adaptation measures for poor and exposed communities in developing countries.

- In its development cooperation, Switzerland focuses on vocational training and job creation, as Helvetas has been doing for a long time. This will create prospects on the ground.

- In addition, the Federal Council draws up a future-oriented immigration policy that recognizes, implements and publicly emphasizes the importance of immigration and integration for Switzerland - both for the economy and for society.

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