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Minister urges support for climate refugees

Protective measures for refugees should be extended for those driven from their homes by environmental disasters, argues Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey.

This content was published on December 8, 2011 - 14:28
swissinfo.ch and agencies

Speaking before the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva on Thursday, she said Switzerland wanted to help find solutions for these people.

“A chasm has developed between existing agreements and the needs of reality. We believe that a more coherent approach is required to provide the necessary protection for people crossing borders because of a sudden catastrophe,” Calmy-Rey told the representatives of 145 states gathered for the 60th anniversary of the UN Refugee Convention.

People who are displaced by natural disasters are currently not under the protection of the convention.

Next year Switzerland will increase its contribution to the UNHCR from SFr26 million ($28 million) to SFr28 million, foreign ministry spokesman Raphael Saborit told the Swiss News Agency.

Calmy-Rey also announced that Switzerland would soon welcome a new group of refugees, but did not give details.

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