• Switzerland's news in English

Grounds for asylum under attack

Lyssandra Sears · 18 May 2012, 09:37

Published: 18 May 2012 10:50 GMT+02:00
Updated: 18 May 2012 09:37 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The Council of States wants to change the law so that people cannot claim political asylum because they have deserted their country’s army. The aim is to make it harder for Eritreans to seek asylum in Switzerland.

The Council of States, also known as Switzerland’s upper house, wants to stop asylum seekers being able to use desertion as a ground upon which to claim asylum, newspaper Tribune de Genève reported.

Some two thirds of asylum seekers from Eritrea now use their desertion as the basis for the asylum applications. The introduction of desertion as a valid ground for claiming asylum in 2005 led to a dramatic increase in applications.

Number rose from 200 in 2005, to more than 1,000 in 2006. In 2011 more than 3,000 applications were registered and the first quarter of 2012 has already exceeded the figures for the first quarter of last year by some 41 percent.

It is hoped that removing desertion as a ground for asylum will dramatically reduce the number of entrants to Switzerland, but critics say it will make little difference as Eritreans will still be able to claim at least temporary asylum for other reasons due to the continuing war with Ethiopia.

Swiss People’s Party representative, Heinz Brand, is optimistic that the move will yield results.

“The decline in Eritrean applicants will not happen overnight. But it will come because of the change in conditions,” he told the newspaper.

“Social welfare will decrease and family reunification will not be allowed.”

But Michael Glauser from the Office for Migration sees the problem differently.

“Already today we do not give asylum solely on the grounds of desertion,” he said.

Glauser thinks that this group will continue being granted asylum because the applicants risk their lives if they are sent home again.

Part of the drive to reduce numbers of Eritreans entering Switzerland is because of their poor integration into Swiss society. But some point to the experience of many Tamils saying they show that people who were at first poorly integrated can flourish and contribute to society.

Lyssandra Sears (news@thelocal.ch)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Presented by MoneyPark
How to get a mortgage in Switzerland
Houses in Zürich. Photo: Pixabay.

Ready to buy? Here’s what you need to know as an expat about Swiss regulations, how to finance your purchase, and why you should use a broker.

Autumn in Switzerland: ten stunning Instagram photos
Photo: Swiss Tourism/Jan Geerk

Switzerland is beautiful in all seasons, but as these photos show, autumn is a special time in the alpine country.

Report: Swiss progress slows on gender equality
File photo: David Soulivet

Globally, it will take 170 years to achieve gender equality, according to the World Economic Forum.

Brothers go to court to stop suicide of sibling
File photo: Lisa Edmonds

Two men have filed a legal bid to prevent the Swiss assisted suicide association Exit from helping their older brother to kill himself.

Wawrinka snubs past form to reach Basel second round
Wawrinka beat local wildcard Marco Chiudinelli. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

US Open champion Stan Wawrinka has reached the second round in Basel after going out in the first round for the past four years.

Villagers asked to help fund bridge renovations
The bridge links the two villages of Veltheim (pictured) and Holderbank. Photo: Lutz Fischer-Lamprecht

The crowdfunding campaign by the two communes is the first of its kind in Switzerland.

Police discover body buried in Orbe house
File photo: Bas Leenders

Police have opened an investigation after finding a body buried in a house in Orbe, in the canton of Vaud, on Saturday.

Valais shaken by 4.2 magnitude earthquake
The earthquake hit in the canton of Valais near Sierre. Photo: Alain Rouiller

It's the biggest earthquake to hit the country for two years.

Swiss Indoors kicks off without champ Federer
Federer celebrates with ball girls and boys after winning the event in 2015. Photo: Harold Cunningham/Pool/AFP

Stan Wawrinka is top seed as injured Federer sits it out.

IOC hires Russian doping whistleblower as consultant
IOC President Thomas Bach confirmed the news. File photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has hired Vitaly Stepanov as a consultant and is helping his runner wife Yuliya.

Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben
Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: The Local
Ticino firefighters rescue cow from swimming pool
Photo: Antoni Da Campo
Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
Photo: Randy Kashka
Swiss women will ‘work for free’ for the rest of year
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Seven things you’ll miss about Switzerland if you leave
Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
jobs available