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Provision for teenage asylum seekers to be stepped up

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Provision for teenage asylum seekers to be stepped up
Minors are among those applying for asylum. File photo: Federal Office for Migraiton
10:36 CET+01:00
A Swiss government pilot project expected to launch this year promises to improve care and accommodation for underage asylum seekers.

In a written answer on Thursday to a parliamentary question the government said the trial would take place in one of the federal asylum centres, the Swiss news agency SDA reported.

It said two social workers would look after the unaccompanied minors and ensure a daily structure appropriate for their age.

The government envisages a strict separation of underage and adult asylum seekers. Minors will as far as possible be housed in groups.

In Switzerland the cantons are currently responsible for housing and taking care of unaccompanied teenage asylum seekers. Refugee groups have criticized the government over the lack of national coordination.

Many of the minors come from war zones and are traumatized.

According to government figures, just under 2,000 minors claimed asylum in Switzerland in 2016, just over seven percent of the total number of applications.

The latest figures from the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) show that 1,588 people sought asylum in Switzerland in January.

That is 10 percent fewer requests than were made in December and half as many as in the same month last year.

In addition 994 asylum seekers came to Switzerland by the end of January in the framework of a UNHCR resettlement programme, with a further 418 arriving as part of a European Union relocation scheme. 

The SEM said the downturn in asylum applications could be put down to the closure of the Balkan route in March 2016.

The main country of origin remained Eritrea, followed by Guinea, Syria and Afghanistan.

The SEM expects around 24,500 new asylum applications for the whole of 2017.

 

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