Asylum seekers from Eritrea whose applications have been rejected in Switzerland will be required to go to a third country, the Council of States has said.
The decision comes following the motion of Damian Müller, which was accepted by the small chamber on Monday, calling for a pilot project that would permit to send citizens of Eritrea with rejected asylum requests to a third country, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
As an example of a third country, Müller mentioned Rwanda, while clarifying that it does not mean that the asylum procedure is outsourced.
“It is about people who have gone through an asylum procedure in Switzerland, who have received a negative decision and who do not need international protection. Those affected could travel from Rwanda to another country,” the statement reads.
However, the motion has been called unrealistic by Lisa Mazzone, a prominent Green Party politician in Switzerland.
She said that a large number of applications filed for asylum by citizens of Eritrea are secondary requests after births and family reunifications, stressing that Eritreans who have been in the country for a long period should be permitted to work.
The recent changes also raised concerns among the Federal Council’s members. According to the federal cabinet of the Swiss Confederation, Eritreans, whose asylum applications have been rejected could be sent to a third country, only if they have a connection there. In addition, the Council said that there is no legal basis for financing the pilot project while stressing that human rights standards should be guaranteed in a third country.
Swiss Federal Council said that Eritrea does not support the involuntary return of its citizens, adding that if the project is implemented, this means de facto relocation to a third country.
In addition, the Council also approved a second motion by Damian Müller related to the issue of repatriation.
“In order to get Algeria to cooperate on forced repatriations, this motion requires the Federal Council to apply for restrictions on the issuance of visas for the Schengen area under the Schengen Code. The Council of States accepted it on Monday with 28 votes to 11 and 3 abstentions,” the statement reads.
Müller said that at present the cantons are being subject to significant difficulties after repatriations to Algeria are not working, in spite of repatriation agreements.
Authorities in Switzerland are continuously attempting to deal with the influx of asylum requests. Previously the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) said that Switzerland accepted a total of 1,651 asylum applications in April this year.
In the fourth month of this year, authorities in Switzerland decided to create additional accommodation places following the increased number of asylum requests.