According to a survey commissioned by the French-language weekly Hebdo, the majority of Swiss do not have objections to hosting a centre for refugees in their neighbourhood or commune.
Of the 1,220 people surveyed, 54.1% were prepared to accept a refugee centre near their place of residence. Those living in big cities were more open to living next door to refugees than others.
“This shows that the reality is quite different from the impression given by certain political parties like the Swiss People's Party,” Stefan Frey, spokesperson for the Swiss Refugee Council told swissinfo.ch.
There was also a significant difference between the German and French-speaking regions, with 57% of the former being pro-refugee centre compared with 46% of the latter.
Opinions were also divided on the extent to which people would be willing to help asylum seekers. The majority were ready to provide language lessons (67%), share an evening meal (62.5%), or participate in leisure activities (58.2%) with refugees.
However slightly less than 20% were willing to host a refugee in their homes. Even fewer (12.6%) were willing to host an entire refugee family.
“This is not surprising as the majority of Swiss rent and cannot welcome additional people into their homes as they please,” said Frey. “We still get approached by around one or two people every day who want to host refugees in their homes.”
swissinfo.ch and agencies