The “Interreligious Declaration on refugee protection“, 2018

Interreligious Declaration on Refugees, Gruppenbild Die Unterzeichnenden: (v.r.n.l) - Dr. Herbert Winter Präsident Schweizerischer Israelitischer Gemeindebund SIG - Dr. Gottfried Locher Ratspräsident Schweizerischer Evangelischer Kirchenbund SEK - Mgr Dr. Charles Morerod Präsident Schweizer Bischofskonferenz SBK - Bischof Dr. Harald Rein Bischof Christkatholische Kirche Schweiz CKS - Dr. Montassar BenMrad Präsident der Föderation Islamischer Dachorganisationen Schweiz FIDS - Dr. Farhad Afshar Präsident Koordination Islamischer Organisationen Schweiz KIOS
© EKS / Anja Zurbrügg

The Swiss Interreligious Declaration on refugee protection “In Front of You is Always a Human Being” was an initiative of the Swiss Council of Religions. It called for stronger refugee protection, made practical suggestions to the governmental authorities and called for a more humane approach to refugee issues. The Interreligious Declaration on Refugees stresses the importance of five topics that are essential to refugee protection: on-site assistance, appropriate refugee protection policy, legal access routes, fair and effective asylum procedures, and pathways to integration. This unprecedented appeal was the fruit of collaboration between the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and faith communities in Switzerland. It was the first time that Christians, Jews and Muslims in Switzerland made a joint appeal for refugees. The declaration was presented in Bern on November 7, 2018.

The Swiss Council of Religions was founded on May 15, 2006 as a platform for dialogue and understanding. It is composed of leading figures from different religious communities as well as an advisory board. The platform was initiated by Pastor Thomas Wipf, then president of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches (FSPC) and the first chairman of the Swiss Council of Religions.