Thousands of public-spirited campaigners are currently pressing Swiss authorities, pushing for urgent measures “to stop refugee deaths in the Mediterranean Sea”. Groups galvanizing the mass protest have already handed a petition to the authorities.
The petition which was signed by 24,425 people, was handed over to the Swiss Federal Chancellery on Tuesday. It is backed by dozens of Swiss campaign groups such as Solidarité sans frontièresexternal link and the Migrationscharta.ch network external link.
They are also urging Switzerland to participate in the development of a civilian rescue service financed and run by European states. The campaigners equally want the Swiss authorities to commit to welcoming those rescued at sea in accordance with humanitarian principles and the rule of law.
Their campaign follows a similar motion filed by the leftwing Social Democratic Party at the House of Representatives, which has the support of most Swiss political parties.
On Tuesday around 200 activists laid out banderoles on a Bern square with the names of the 36,000 people who have died attempting to cross the Mediterranean or on other exile routes to Europe since 2013.
On January 3, the Geneva-based International Organisation for Migration (IOM) reported that 110,669 migrants and refugees had entered Europe by sea during the year just ended, marking the sixth straight year that at least 100,000 arrivals were recorded on three Mediterranean Sea routes.
The United Nations migration agency recorded 1,283 deaths on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes in 2019 or at least 19,164 migrants since 2014.