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( Aargauer Zeitung) Switzerland is seeking a readmission agreement with Eritrea

Posted by: Semere Asmelash

Date: Wednesday, 11 September 2019


Bund is looking to deal with Eritrea

A support program is designed to encourage asylum seekers to return home.
Voluntarily, only one in four returns home. In most cases, the Confederation and the cantons must help with measures, sometimes with police escorts to their country of origin. Last year, the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) counted 4,826 forced evictions from rejected asylum seekers and non-resident aliens.

Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter wants to force the directions now. On behalf of the FDP Federal Councilor, the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) presented on Monday measures to improve enforcement. Additional liaison officers in target countries, the close accompaniment of difficult individual cases and an expansion of return assistance should address it (see yesterday's edition).

Currently, adults receive a flat rate of 1,000 francs return assistance. Anyone who has a business idea or wants to continue their education can receive up to 3,000 additional, in special cases, 5,000 francs for concrete reintegration projects. Beneficiaries of such benefits are those who voluntarily leave Switzerland. Last year, the SEM spent around 1.5 million francs on repatriation assistance.

Country program should set incentive

The SEM is now reviewing the resumption of so-called country programs, as spokesperson Reto Kormann says on request. Return assistance is geared specifically to the needs in the countries of origin.

At the top of the list of federal priorities is Eritrea, the country where most of the asylum seekers come from. Unfortunately, says Kormann, there is no local partner available for the implementation of the projects in the country. However, the SEM is currently clarifying this.

Recommendation from the Canton of Zurich

Urs Betschart heads the Migration Office of the Canton of Zurich and is Vice President of the Association of Cantonal Immigration Offices. The former SEM Vice Director knows country programs from his own experience and draws a positive conclusion.

"The people were not simply sent away, but Switzerland has enabled them to build a new existence," says Betschart - in a way that would have benefited even the backward.

Betschart was also the one who recently recommended that the federal government develop a country program for Eritrea. Although the level of protection among Eritreans is high, in the recent past the federal government has increasingly given direction. However, they can not be executed, because only very few voluntarily return home.

Individual return assistance is good and right, but it is precisely with states such as Eritrea that a holistic approach is needed to make progress - and to encourage more people to return. Currently around 50,000 Eritreans live in Switzerland. With the integration it's hard. Social assistance dependency is high and the employment rate low.

It was only in July that Eritrea's Foreign Minister Osman Saleh visited Switzerland. But he did not accept an invitation from Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis, but took part in an event of exile Eritreans in Burgdorf, as the Rundschau reported. Politicians from left to right took this as an affront.

In the long term, Switzerland is seeking a readmission agreement with Eritrea. After all, the efforts to get into business with the dictatorship are not completely unsuccessful. Switzerland has been supporting vocational training projects since October 2017. More than 1,000 Eritreans have benefited so far.

Business training for Afghans

Betschart mentions states such as Algeria and Morocco as further priority partners for new country programs. 657 new asylum applications were received by the two countries by the end of July, and one person was granted the right to stay. Switzerland is facing great difficulties in returning people to these countries - not least because they do not accept forced evictions in special chartered flights.

In the past, the SEM has implemented country programs with countries including Nigeria, Georgia and the Balkans such as Kosovo. To build a professional existence in Nigeria, the federal government let jump up to 6000 francs per person. In Georgia, he supported a program for the care of addicts, in the Balkans were financed in addition to career prospects house renovations.

Irrespective of country programs, the federal government is currently financing offices of the international organization for migration in Afghanistan, Gambia, Iraq, Somalia and Sri Lanka to look after returnees from Switzerland. For example, except in Somalia, those who have proposed a project can attend business training.

Expedition flights cost about 6 million francs

Last year, 6137 rejected asylum seekers and foreigners without a residence permit left Switzerland by air. For 214 people, the federal government organized a special flight with police escorts.

This is the case when a person presumably has strong physical resistance to repatriation. The rest were evicted on scheduled flights, with their 314 accompanied to their homes by police officers. The scheduled and special flights cost the Federation 2018 about 6 million francs.

Last year, the federal government had to cancel or rebook 2731 flights. In other words, every third removal fails. (Ka)

"ሓመድ ድበ ዕስለ" ብ ኣወል ስዒድ/ "Hamed Dibe Esle" by AWEL SAID

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