• Switzerland edition
 
Cantons seek DNA tests for asylum seekers
Asylum seekers at a reception centre in a military bunker in Realp (canton of Uri). Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Cantons seek DNA tests for asylum seekers

Published: 18 Aug 2013 18:09 GMT+02:00
Updated: 18 Aug 2013 18:09 GMT+02:00

Eritreans represent the largest group seeking asylum in Switzerland, with nearly 6,000 requests currently pending in the country.

In June, Swiss voters in a referendum overwhelmingly approved stricter asylum criteria, notably the removal of military desertion as a valid reason for asylum.

That had been the key reason cited by Eritreans, whose country imposes unlimited and under-paid military service on all able-bodied men and women.

According to the Schweiz Am Sonntag newspaper, Eritreans also make more requests than any other nationality to bring over relatives under the family reunification programme.

"Identity papers or birth certificates must be considered as suspect" when presented by people seeking residence under the family reunification programme, said Iris Rivas, head of migration services in the canton of Bern.

She told the newspaper that in many home countries of asylum seekers, official papers are easy to forge and their embassies in Switzerland verify only whether the surnames given match those of the petitioners.

The call for DNA testing is also supported by the canton of Lucerne's migration chief Alexander Lieb.

 "Identity control in the case of family reunification is too lax," he said.

Swiss law currently allows case-by-case requests for DNA tests when there is serious doubt that a claimant belongs to the same family.

Switzerland is among the European countries that welcomes the most asylum seekers in proportion to its population, and numbers have soared in recent years, in part due to the Arab Spring uprisings.

The country has faced a barrage of criticism over its treatment of asylum seekers, including segregation and poor living conditions.

A fierce row broke out in early August amid reports that a small town was allowed to deny residents of a new asylum centre access to public facilities such as the swimming pool.

Authorities maintain that this was a misunderstanding.

Currently fewer than 20 percent of petitioners are granted asylum in Switzerland in a process that can take several years.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
ETH Zurich retains status in world university list
ETH Zurich remains continental Europe's highest ranked university. Photo: Ed Seymour

ETH Zurich retains status in world university list

Switzerland’s Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich is yet again continental Europe’s top university according to the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings for 2014-15. READ  

FC Basel beat lame Liverpool 1-0 at home
Basel's goal-scoring forward Marco Streller (left) vies with Liverpool's Spanish defender Jose Enrique during match. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

FC Basel beat lame Liverpool 1-0 at home

Liverpool became the latest English club to fall victim to FC Basel as the Swiss side triumphed 1-0 in their Champions League Group B clash at the St Jakob-Park on Wednesday. READ  

Woman's potato fall 'not restaurant’s fault': court
Photo: The Local

Woman's potato fall 'not restaurant’s fault': court

A woman who was seriously injured after stepping on a potato in a self-service restaurant in the canton of Zurich has failed to get a court to back her complaint, while a judge warned that it was up to customers to watch where they were walking. READ  

Foreign women have rising share of newborns
Photo: Waltraud Grubitzsch/AFP/Getty Images

Foreign women have rising share of newborns

More than one in three babies were born in Switzerland last year to foreign mothers, a proportion that has doubled in the past 20 years, according to government figures. READ  

National tax planned to cut water micropollutants
The Terre Sainte sewage treatment plant in the canton of Vaud. Photo: Canton of Vaud

National tax planned to cut water micropollutants

Starting in 2016, an annual tax of up to nine francs ($9.43) per resident will help finance equipment in around 100 sewage treatment plants across Switzerland to prevent microscopic pollutants from flowing into lakes and rivers. READ  

UBS pays €1.1-billion bail in French 'tax fraud' case
Photo: UBS

UBS pays €1.1-billion bail in French 'tax fraud' case

Swiss banking giant UBS has made a €1.1-billion ($1.4-billion) bail payment for allegedly helping rich French clients to hide money in Switzerland, a lawyer for the bank said on Tuesday. READ  

Senior dupes European court in suicide snafu
Photo: AFP

Senior dupes European court in suicide snafu

The European rights court on Tuesday withdrew its criticism of Switzerland's assisted suicide laws after it emerged an octogenarian who filed the initial complaint had duped both the court and her lawyer in the case. READ  

Wawrinka knocked out early at Japan Open
The top seeded Swiss struggled to make his mark. Photo: Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP

Wawrinka knocked out early at Japan Open

Tatsuma Ito followed the winning example of Japanese compatriot Kei Nishikori as the number 103-ranked local dumped top seed Stan Wawrinka out 7-5, 6-2 in the first round of the Japan Open tennis tournament on Tuesday. READ  

Swiss group's bid for cat quotas creates buzz
Photo: Joel Dietle

Swiss group's bid for cat quotas creates buzz

A proposal by a Swiss animal protection group to set a limit of one cat per household in Switzerland is attracting international attention. READ  

Basel tackle Liverpool in Champions League duel
FC Basel coach Paulo Sousa: "We'll be stronger." Photo: Javier Soriano/AFP

Basel tackle Liverpool in Champions League duel

Liverpool are confident that they can put a frustrating run of domestic form behind them when they face FC Basel in Switzerland in Champions League Group B football action on Wednesday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Scientific study rings alarm over wellbeing of Swiss cows with bells
Business & Money
Switzerland's residents top world financial wealth list: Allianz report
National
Saint Maurice abbey in Valais celebrates 1,500 years of history
National
Streaming movie video service Netflix arrives in Switzerland
National
Professional Chilean base jumper dives to death in Swiss Alps
Education
ETH Zurich remains top university in Europe: QS world rankings
National
Switzerland's housing vacancy rate jumps: new federal figures
National
Swiss football club fires team masseuse over explicit sex video
National
Geneva police arrest easyJet passenger over hand luggage row
Business & Money
Latest forecasts for Swiss economic growth turn less bullish
Sport
Formula One legend Schumacher to continue treatment at Swiss home
National
Former federal planning official calls for nine Swiss cantons
Features
The Local gets the lowdown on mushroom picking in Switzerland
National
Virgin boss Richard Branson's son rescued from peak of Matterhorn
National
Swiss President Didier Burkhalter's commute turns Twitter sensation
Features
High-tech cameras give dizzy view of Eiger's north face (VIDEO)
Politics
Baden municipal council strips 'nude selfies mayor' of duties
Business & Money
Switzerland stays atop competitiveness table for sixth year
National
Federal parliament secretary agrees to step down over nude selfies
National
Swiss residents pick Swedes as ideal European soul mates: survey
National
Zurich officials call project to move prostitutes to 'sex boxes' a success
National
Swiss gays recognized as parents of child born to surrogate mother
Health
Increase in mountain bike accidents keeps Swiss hospitals busy
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

2,110
jobs available