Date: Thursday, 20 September 2018
The Swiss parliament does not want to open talks with the Eritrean authorities on a repatriation accord and it also dismissed a petition to ease restrictions on asylum seekers from the east African country.
Overruling the House of Representatives, the Senate on Wednesday decided to reject proposals by members of the Swiss People Party and by a citizens’ group in Geneva respectively.
Speakers said the situation in Eritrea had not improved despite a peace accord with neighbouring Ethiopia.
Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga pointed out that the Eritrean government is not willing to take back rejected asylum seekers, despite repeated attempts by Switzerland for dialogue.
She added that the number of asylum requests has dropped from nearly 10,000 in 2015 to about 1,800 this year.
However, the Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved a motion calling on the government to re-examine the status of Eritreans with temporary asylum status in Switzerland.
The demand is in line with an announcement by the Federal Migration Office earlier this month.
The office decided to suspend the temporary refugee status of 20 Eritreans following the launch of a review of 3,400 asylum applications from the east African country. Humanitarian organisations have criticised the move.
Switzerland has gradually tightened its policy over the past year following a decision by Federal Administrative Court last year to allow in principle the repatriation of rejected asylum seekers.