Kids playing by the beach.
© UNHCR/Saiful Huq Omi  

| Switzerland flag Switzerland Making a difference, together.

As the host of UNHCR’s headquarters, and a generous and flexible supporter throughout the years, Switzerland is one of UNHCR’s key governmental partners.

Flexible and predictable multi-year support from Switzerland ensures that vital resources are available to UNHCR, especially in underfunded operations. Switzerland also supports UNHCR’s work through emergency deployments of expert staff from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) providing technical advice in the fields of protection, shelter, cash assistance, water, sanitation and hygiene as well as the deployment of Junior Professional Officers (JPOs). The Swiss State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) provides targeted financial contributions that help strengthen UNHCR's asylum support and protection activities in refugee hosting countries such as Greece, Libya, Rwanda and Turkey. The SEM also seconds staff to UNHCR.

Switzerland is also a key resettlement partner for UNHCR, providing life-saving opportunities for refugees fleeing persecution and conflict. Since the Swiss resettlement programme resumed in 2013, 4,500 refugees have been resettled to Switzerland.   As a member of UNHCR’s Advisory Committee since 1951, and a founding member of the governing Executive Committee (ExCom) since 1959, Switzerland has shown a long-term commitment to forcibly displaced people. Switzerland hosted the Global Refugee Forum in December 2019, and it co-finances and is home to the annual UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award ceremony.

Mr. Azizbek Ashuro, the 2019 UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award winner accepts the award in Geneva, Switzerland.

Ashuro was honoured for his outstanding 16-year commitment to ending statelessness in Kyrgyzstan. The Government of Switzerland and the City of Geneva are long-standing partners of the Nansen Refugee Award, which celebrates everyday heroes who go to extraordinary lengths to help forcibly displaced or stateless persons in great need.

Nansen refugee award winner.
© UNHCR/Mark Henley  

UNHCR and partners support communities affected by tropical storms in Honduras.

In November 2020, tropical storms Eta and Iota hit Central America causing devastation from Panama to southern Mexico. Millions of people were affected including refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people, and their homes were destroyed or flooded. Thanks to flexible funding from donors like Switzerland, UNHCR can respond to emergencies like this one.

In Honduras, UNHCR and partners are supporting IDPs, people at risk of displacement, refugees and asylum seekers affected by the storms, coordinating the provision of protection services, like activities for children and adolescents, the provision of water, cash assistance and a place to stay.
In Honduras, UNHCR and partners are supporting IDPs, people at risk of displacement, refugees and asylum seekers affected by the storms, coordinating the provision of protection services, like activities for children and adolescents, the provision of water, cash assistance and a place to stay. ©UNHCR/Juan Camilo Jiménez  

A young Ethiopian refugee collects a mattress at a transit site in Hamdayet, Sudan.

Since violence began in November 2020 in northern Ethiopia, thousands of people fled to Sudan—more than half of them were children. In December 2020, UNHCR launched an appeal for US$98.9 million to deliver life-saving assistance and protection to refugees caught up in the crisis. In 2020, Switzerland contributed $474,614 to support Ethiopian refugees from the Tigray region in Sudan.

A young Ethiopian refugee collects a mattress at a transit site in Hamdayet, Sudan.
A young Ethiopian refugee collects a mattress at a transit site in Hamdayet, Sudan. © UNHCR/Olivier Jobard  

Mayerlin Vegara Perez wins the 2020 UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award.

For her lifetime’s work helping children recover from sexual exploitation in Colombia's Caribbean coastal region, Mayerlin was honored with the prestigious Award, generously supported by the Governments of Switzerland and Norway.

The Nansen Refugee Award ceremony is held annually in Geneva. However due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony was held virtually on 5 October 2020. Switzerland has been a long-standing partner to the Award, contributing financially to the prize and to the ceremony itself, enabling Mayerlin to continue her life-changing work.

For her lifetime’s work helping children recover from sexual exploitation in Colombia's Caribbean coastal region, Mayerlin Vegara Perez, 45, has been named UNHCR’s Nansen Refugee Award Laureate 2020.
“We have so many success stories – chefs, designers, nurses, doctors, accountants.” For her lifetime’s work helping children recover from sexual exploitation in Colombia's Caribbean coastal region, Mayerlin Vegara Perez, 45, has been named UNHCR’s Nansen Refugee Award Laureate 2020. © UNHCR/Nicolo Filippo Rosso  

Nine-year-old Shaima’a (left) gets ready to leave for school in Marib, Yemen.

Yemen is facing a severe protection crisis, and civilians continue to be affected by serious risks to their safety, well-being and basic rights. UNHCR relies on the ongoing support from partners like Switzerland to be able to provide life-saving aid to displaced Yemenis. Our teams are on the ground delivering shelter, legal and financial assistance as well as psycho-social support.

Nine-year-old Shaima’a (left) gets ready to leave for school from the mud house that her parents sold their jewellery to build in one of the 83 hosting sites for internally displaced Yemenis in Marib.
Nine-year-old Shaima’a (left) gets ready to leave for school from the mud house that her parents sold their jewellery to build in one of the 83 hosting sites for internally displaced Yemenis in Marib. The school functions in shifts to accommodate the increased number of students, and Shaima’a attends classes in the afternoon. © UNHCR/Marie-Joëlle Jean-Charles  
Total contributions in 2021 to date