Top Swiss police officer: let Syrian refugees in

Switzerland's top police officer, usually thought of as an immigration hard-liner, says the country should open its doors to refugees from Syria.

Hans-Jürg Käser, the President of the Conference of Cantonal Justice and Police Officers, has surprised many by suggesting that Switzerland should take Syrian refugees, newspaper Tribune de Genève reported.

His opinion was quoted in the newspaper NZZ am Sonntag, and comes as a surprise to some as Käser is known for taking a tough position against asylum seekers.

But Käser has described the Syrians as “genuine refugees”, whose “lives and integrity are threatened” and believes that taking in Syrians would be in line with Switzerland’s humanitarian tradition.

Several people, including Philippe Leuba, minister for the interior in the canton of Vaud, agree with Käser’s view.

“Syria is a dictatorship and is clearly at war. Its population is suffering in two ways,” Leuba told the newspaper.

National Councillor Cesla Amarelle for canton Vaud is also pleased by Käser’s statements, believing that many will listen to him, particularly because he is known as a hard man.

Although there are only a few refugees from Syria in Switzerland currently, Käser believes this will change. One possibility that has been mentioned is to reintroduce quotas, although this idea has little support at a time when many feel that numbers of asylum seekers are getting out of control.

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