Refugees and activists have taken over an empty school, highlighting the issue of Switzerland’s lack of available accommodation. (SRF/swissinfo.ch)
As is happening in other countries, grassroots organisations are doing their part to help refugees or migrants arriving in European countries. In Lausanne, a group of activists have taken over an abandoned school so refugees would have a roof over their head. City authorities opposed the action and have filed a criminal complaint.
In Geneva this summer a group of activists occupied the Grütli cultural centre in protest at a decision to host refugees in military facilities.
Never before have so many people risked their lives to get to Europe by sea. In the first six months of this year, 137,000 migrants disembarked on the EU’s Mediterranean coasts, 83% more than a year ago. According to the UNHCR, the United Nations’ refugee agency, they are usually people looking for safe haven, fleeing wars in Syria and Afghanistan or the Eritrean regime.
For those arriving in Switzerland finding accommodation is not an easy task.
In Lyss in canton Bern, authorities set up army tents to accommodate 250 asylum seekers while the city of Basel opted for residential containers to host 150 people.