Switzerland will seek to send failed asylum seekers back to Eritrea

Switzerland rejects Eritrean asylum seekers after parliament review

Switzerland says it will seek to send 63 failed asylum seekers back to Eritrea following a review of 3,400 cases. The temporary asylum status of a further 20 people has also been cancelled, the migration office said on Friday.

The move comes after a decision by Federal Administrative Court in 2017 allow in principle the repatriation of rejected asylum seekers. A year later, the Swiss parliament passed a motion calling on the government to look into cases from Eritrea. A report on the findings was approved by the government on Friday.

“It concerned people who had not yet obtained asylum in Switzerland, but for whom a return there was not considered reasonable by the SEM conforming to the law in force and the jurisprudence of the Federal Administrative Court,” stated the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) said on Friday.

There are strict conditions for depriving people of a temporary asylum status, the statement continued, which is why the change of status applied to so few cases. For the other cases, a return would not be reasonable or the lifting of their status would be disproportionate.

Eritrea does not accept forced deportations, so the rejected asylum seekers will have to be sent back by voluntary repatriation.

Switzerland is working with Eritrea to improve the situation in terms of repatriation, both bilaterally and as part of a four-country dialogue with Germany, Sweden and Norway, the statement said.

The report said there had been a drop in asylum requests from Eritreans since 2015. In 2015 almost 10,000 Eritreans requested asylum in Switzerland but by the end of September 2020 it was 1,346 (whether there had been a corona-related effect on the figures was not mentioned in the statement).