Switzerland to take in 3000 Syrian refugees: FSPC welcomes Federal Council’s decision

The Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches (FSPC) welcomes the Federal Council’s decision to receive 3000 additional Syrian refugees to Switzerland over the next three years. For several years, the FSPC has been urging the Swiss government to intensify Switzerland’s efforts to help the people in this region, which for the last four years has been ravaged by one of the greatest humanitarian catastrophes in world history. As early as 2009, the FSPC Council advocated for relocating refugees from areas of conflict.
CC/Sharnoff's Global Views

In the course of his visit to Switzerland on December 3, 2014, the Patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church, Ignatius Aphrem II Karim, reported on the disastrous situation in Syria and its neighboring countries. Christians are the most at-risk minority in this region torn by civil war. Christians are discriminated against in refugee camps as well, the Patriarch stated in Bern. The FSPC welcomes the government’s decision to work closely with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to implement the Council’s resolution. The UNHCR is focusing on the particular vulnerability of the refugees who are received here. It emphasizes the necessity to protect them within the framework of resettlement programs in third countries. Members of religious minorities, including the Christian population, are particularly at risk in this area of conflict.

The churches will continue to support the authorities by offering support and integration programs for the refugees that have been taken in by Switzerland and by helping to find accommodation for them. The Christian Aid Program North Iraq (CAPNI), which is in part financed by the Reformed Church of Zurich, provides support to refugees in the region.

In the fall of 2014, the FSPC Assembly of Delegates unanimously passed a resolution of the Reformed Churches of Bern-Jura-Solothurn to call on Switzerland to take in 5000 Syrian refugees and to intensify relief efforts in the region. This resolution was handed over to the Federal Council by Council President Gottfried Locher himself in late November 2014. Therefore, the FSPC welcomes the measures announced by the Federal Council last Friday to protect the victims of the conflict in Syria.