Forced migrants

From wars and conflicts to natural disasters and economic hardship, there are many reasons why forced migrants are driven into exile. The Swiss Red Cross works on behalf of forced migrants throughout the world, to ensure they receive assistance and protection. It comes to the aid of displaced persons in their country of origin, along migratory routes and in their host country.


The number of forced migrants in the world is constantly rising. These people are following increasingly dangerous routes, both by land and sea. They face significant risks and challenges during their journeys. Many are victims of abuse and exploitation. They are not aware of their rights or have difficulty asserting them. Language barriers are often an additional problem.

Our goal

The objective of the Swiss Red Cross is to ensure that forced migrants have access to what they need most: food, water, sanitation, shelter and healthcare. It also helps them to integrate and participate in work and social life in their country of settlement. Lastly, the Swiss Red Cross is committed to making forced migrants aware of their rights and ensuring that these are respected.


UN global goals

Find out more (in German)

What we do

The Swiss Red Cross works in different ways throughout the world on behalf of forced migrants, whether they are refugees or internally displaced persons. It adapts its activities and operating locations in response to current needs. For example, it is active on the migratory routes in the Balkans. It supports Syrian refugees in their own country and in Lebanon. In Asia, it is active in Bangladesh helping people who have fled Myanmar. In Africa, it comes to the aid of displaced persons in Ethiopia. And in Central America, the Swiss Red Cross supports people returning to their country of origin.

The Swiss Red Cross (SRC) is allocating an initial 10 million Swiss francs to help people affected the war in Ukraine. The Red Cross has experts and volunteers on the ground. The Ukrainian Red Cross has deployed 550 employees and 4,000 volunteers. They are evacuating people, providing first aid and distributing food and beverages to families seeking refuge in metro stations and other safe spaces. People who are fleeing the conflict are also being provided with basic necessities.

Experts from the SRC's emergency relief pool are working to support the coordinated aid provided by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in Ukraine and neighbouring countries. At the same time, the SRC advocates rapid and unbureaucratic admission of people in need of protection into Switzerland.

The Swiss Red Cross operates in the Balkans, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, North Macedonia and Montenegro. Mobile teams provide basic care for forced migrants. In winter, volunteers and staff from local Red Cross organizations deliver hot meals, water, blankets and clothing. The services on offer may include restoring family links and tracing missing persons. Prevention programmes raise awareness of the risks of human trafficking. Social inclusion projects help people to integrate.

The Swiss Red Cross supports forced migrants in Syria. It repairs drinking water reservoirs. It renovates irrigation systems so that people can water their crops. It helps them earn a basic income by giving them chickens or sheep. In Lebanon, the Swiss Red Cross assists Syrian refugees. It finances the distribution of food parcels and cash assistance.

A variety of activities are being implemented by the Swiss Red Cross in the camps at Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh: health centres, a waste management system and awareness programmes. They aim to assist forced migrants from Myanmar as well as the host community in Cox’s Bazar. The Swiss Red Cross supports the ICRC in Afghanistan. It also assists the IFRC in neighbouring countries.

In Southern Ethiopia, the Swiss Red Cross provides cash assistance to forced migrants within the country. Awareness programmes promote non-violence.

In El Salvador and Honduras, some people are being forced to return to their home country. The Swiss Red Cross provides them with medical assistance and access to water. It organizes activities to strengthen community resilience.

Where we help

The Swiss Red Cross assists forced migrants throughout the world.

Our project countries

What you can do


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