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(SWI) Council of States returns to discuss Eritrea

Posted by: Semere Asmelash

Date: Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Council of States returns to discuss Eritrea

19 SEPTEMBER 2018 - 11:24

Eritrean asylum seekers in the canton of Bern.



Parliament is back today to discuss Eritrean refugees. The Council of States has adopted a motion by Damian Müller (PLR / LU) which calls for a review of the cases of migrants from the African country and for the diplomatic presence in Asmara.

In justifying his parliamentary act, which has yet to be examined by the national team, the Lucerne has stated that it considers unacceptable that hundreds of rejected Eritreans remain in Switzerland or go underground. The Federal Council must therefore do its utmost to negotiate with Asmara measures permitting forced repatriation.

These measures, Müller has specified, must be coordinated with other states which, like Switzerland, are among the most important Eritrean destination countries. Only a joint mission can in fact induce the Eritrean government to cooperate.

The motion also calls for a review of the cases of 3,400 Eritreans admitted provisionally. A report on the matter must be prepared by the end of February 2020.

The government was in favor of the parliamentary act: the review of the Eritrean refugee files has already begun, said Federal Councilor Simonetta Sommaruga. To date, 250 cases have been evaluated as part of a pilot project. In about twenty the Secretariat of State for Migration (SEM) has come to the conclusion that the status of provisional admission could be revoked.

Until mid-2019, the SEM still intends to test another 2800 interim admission decisions issued to Eritrean citizens. It will also be thoroughly examined whether any repatriation is admissible.

The "senators" have instead rejected, with 24 votes against 16 and two abstentions, a motion of the national councilor Andrea Geissbühler (UDC / BE) who asked to start negotiations with the head of the Eritrean government, Isayas Afewerki, so that Eritreans who asked asylum in Switzerland can return home without fear of persecution.

"The situation described in the parliamentary act does not correspond to the real situation illustrated by the Federal Council and Amnesty International," explained Anne Seydoux-Christe (PPD / JU) on behalf of the committee. In the dictatorial regime that knows Eritrea a return to safety of the citizens of this country is not simply possible, he said.

The senators also refused, with 30 votes against 9 and two abstentions, a petition asking to renounce the exacerbation of the situation for Eritreans and the granting of asylum. The humanitarian tradition is already respected, every request is examined individually and fairly, explained Pascale Bruderer (PS / AG) on behalf of the commission.

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