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Caritas calls to halve poverty by 2020

A declaration aiming to halve poverty in Switzerland by 2020 has been launched by the church charity Caritas.

The organisation estimates that in Switzerland 700,000-900,000 people, around a tenth of the population, are in need of social welfare.

The charter launched in the Swiss capital Bern on Tuesday outlines several avenues for action including better identification and documentation of poverty cases, improved access to training regardless of age and more job creation.

Caritas says the poverty rate among people of a working age has stayed between seven and 15 per cent for the past 15 years. The fact that levels have not decreased should prompt a rethink of Swiss social policies in the fight against poverty, the charity said.

The charter launch was timed to coincide with the start of the 2010 European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion. It was signed by various organisations affiliated to Caritas and the Catholic church and others including Lausanne University and the Lucerne Institute for Educational Therapy and Psychotherapy. and agencies