• Switzerland's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Swimming pool turns away Syrian asylum seekers
File photo of a swimming pool. Photo: Dushan Hanuska/Flickr

Swimming pool turns away Syrian asylum seekers

The Local · 1 Mar 2016, 17:03

Published: 01 Mar 2016 17:03 GMT+01:00

Yannick Hagmann, a 35-year-old who volunteers with asylum seekers, told Sonntags Blick that he took some Syrians to the pool in Meggen at the weekend, but the group were refused entry by staff.

Despite the pool being open, Hagmann says a lifeguard prevented them from entering. "He held a note from the parish under our noses which said that no more than three asylum seekers may use the pool at the same time," Hagmann told the newspaper.

The regulation - which also only allows asylum seekers access on two days each week - had in fact been in effect for three weeks before Hagmann's visit. The municipality stated the reason as "the size of the pool and the very limited space available".

Hagmann admits that at eight by 20 metres, the pool is relatively small. However, he likened the regulation to "the apartheid regime", saying: "It cannot be that a particular group of the population is excluded."

A law professor at Basel University, Markus Schefer, told 20 Minuten that the limit "contravenes the ban on discrimination in the Swiss Constitution and so could be illegal". He added that although limits can be placed on occupancy for safety reasons, "these should apply to everyone and not just asylum seekers".

Although the Swiss Constitution does not allow discrimination, the pool has been labelled a "sensitive zone" because it is within school grounds, meaning that special conditions may be applied.

Story continues below…

It's not the first time that swimming pools in Europe have caused a stir for preventing access to migrants. In January, a German town banned male asylum seekers from public swimming pools after complaints from women that they were being harassed by migrants.

And one month before that, France’s leading legal rights body was called in to investigate after it emerged that a swimming pool in Calais, where 4,500 refugees are camped out, had effectively banned them from entering by introducing ID checks.

For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.ch)

Today's headlines
Van Gogh, Monet paintings seized in Malaysia graft probe
The works were seized following a request from the United States, one of several countries probing alleged massive fraud at the Malaysian state fund 1MDB. Photo: AFP

Switzerland has seized a painting by Vincent Van Gogh and two others by Claude Monet as part of the global investigation into Malaysia's scandal-tainted sovereign wealth fund, an official said on Friday.

IOC reports more doping failures pre-Rio
President Thomas Bach said the retesting showed the IOC's commitment to fight doping. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The International Olympic Committee reports 45 new doping failures from Beijing 2008 and London 2012.

Swiss pilots: don’t hunt Pokémon from the air
Pokemon hunting has become a world-wide craze. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

The Swiss civil aviation office hears reports of people playing the popular new game from helicopters.

‘Nelson’ the black swan found dead in Montreux
File photo: Noel Reynolds

The non-native swan caused a media storm earlier this month.

Zurich school threatened over links to Erdogan opponent
File photo: Aris Messini/AFP

School targeted over claims it is associated with Fethullah Gulen.

Violent storms hit Switzerland as planet heats up (again)
File photo: Benjamin Benson

Globally, June 2016 was the hottest month on record.

Swiss sports court upholds ban on Russian athletes
Russia's Yelena Isinbayeva (centre) is among the athletes affected. Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/Wang Zhao/Greg Baker/AFP

The decision by Lausanne's Court of Arbitration for Sport is a "funeral for athletics" said one Russian athlete.

Swiss Post moves to accept debit cards – sometimes
Photo: Swiss Post

By December customers will be able to pay for products (but not their bills) by debit card.

Study: a fifth of Swiss spy on neighbours
22 percent admit to watching their neighbours. File photo: Chase Elliott Clark

And 40 percent of Swiss feel watched in their homes.

Spectacular Valais ‘bisse’ to feature on new banknote
The bisse d'Ayent. Photo: Commune of Ayent/ayent.ch

The canton's historic irrigation channels will take pride of place on the new 100 franc note.

Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Photo: Grand Tours Project
Features
Why you should get on your bike in Switzerland
Photo: The Local
Society
Swiss village tells landlords: don’t rent homes to refugees
Photo: Rolf Krahl/Christophe G
International
Survey: world willing to pay more for ‘Swissness’
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Photo: The Local
International
Chaos in Como after Swiss send back refugees
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Photo: AFP/The Local
Lifestyle
Nine top celebrity hotspots in Switzerland
Photo: Graubunden police
National
World-class Swiss climber Norbert Joos dies on ‘home mountain’
Photo: Kathleen Waters
Society
Italian ‘ignored’ by Swiss schools in language wars
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Photo: Whitepod
Features
The quirkiest places to stay in Switzerland
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
International
Migrant busted trying to sneak into Switzerland in a suitcase
Photo: Jonathan Kos-Read
National
Basel suffers wettest six months for 150 years
Photo: Georges Gobet/AFP
Technology
Why Swiss science could suffer badly from Brexit fallout
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Photo: Robert Valencia
International
Swiss couple in Nicaragua told to give back adopted daughter
Photo: Zurich cantonal police
National
Police hunt prisoner on the run in Zurich murder case
Photo: Christoph G
Politics
Switzerland sets out law on expelling foreign criminals
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Photo: Bernacqua
Lifestyle
Drone shocks nudists at Swiss waterpark
Photo: Basel Justice and Security Dept
Lifestyle
New signs lay down law and order for Basel prostitutes
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Photo: Daniel Orth
Education
Muslim school kids denied passport for refusing swimming lessons
Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP
Politics
Swiss-EU talks ‘must’ resume this summer, says President
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
File photo: Kochtopf
National
Anger as Swiss council plans non-pork school lunches
File photo: Jen/Flickr
Society
Geneva could get 'café fellatio' by end of year
Features
How Switzerland's scenery inspired some of the world's greatest authors
4,633
jobs available