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News Comment by Pascale Moreau, UNHCR Director of the Bureau for Europe, on the interreligious declaration on refugees issued by the Swiss Council of Religions

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“The unprecedented appeal that was made on Wednesday, 7 November, by Switzerland’s religious leaders in support of refugees is very much welcomed.

This powerful initiative from Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Islamic leaders in Switzerland urges stronger refugee protection, making practical suggestions to the authorities and calling for a more human approach to refugee issues. The Swiss appeal stresses the importance of five topics that are essential to refugee protection: on-site assistance, resettlement, fair and efficient asylum procedures, integration and returns in dignity.

I hope this pioneer interreligious initiative will inspire many other leaders in Europe and beyond. In many countries across the world, religious communities play a crucial role in supporting refugees and facilitating their integration. The initiative is the follow up to the High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Faith and Protection, and contributes to ongoing efforts to strengthen solidarity with refugees and the communities that host them.

At this time of heightened tensions and often toxic debate on refugee matters, a strengthened interreligious dialogue brings hope for a more positive approach to displacement issues.”

For more information on the statement issued by the Swiss Council of Religions, please go to:

Website of UNHCR Switzerland in French and German.
Website of the interreligious declaration in French and German.

For more information on the High Commissioner’s dialogue on faith and protection, please click here.

Media contact:

  • In Geneva, Julia Dao, daoj@unhcr.org, +41 22 739 85 69, Mobile: +41 79 204 34 09