Switzerland to Intensify Relations with Eritrea to Facilitate Return of Migrants

Eritrean migrants in Swiss
WON’T WORK. The Foreign Policy Committee (EPC) of the Council of States adopted a motion to reduce migratory flows from Eritrea. Swiss politicians didn’t get it yet. The only way to stop the trend is by voting on a motion that calls for the immediate lifting of automatic asylum provisions to “Eritrean” migrants and by introducing a stringent vetting mechanism to identify non-Eritreans from taking advantage of the preferential treatment (pull factor) towards Eritrean migrants.

By Ats / ADN, * Software translation from Germany

The Foreign Policy Committee (EPC) of the Council of States adopted by a very large majority a motion to “reduce the flows of refugees and migrants from Eritrea” by focusing on an intensification of diplomatic activity by Swiss authorities with the African country.

The EPC has adopted the text of the National Counsellor Claude Béglé (PPD / VD) with eight votes against and two abstentions, said the Secretariat of the Committee in a statement issued today. The motion already accepted by the House of People on 17 June, also enjoys the favor of the Federal Council.



The situation in Eritrea remains “opaque” and the possibility for cooperation with this country are currently “limited” wrote the Federal Council at the end of May in his response to the text of the Democrat, filed in mid-March.

The Government is not opposed to the conclusion of a readmission agreement. So far, though, Eritrea systematically refuses any kind of cooperation in cases of forced return. Moreover, given the lack of guarantees on the safety for people who return to the country, referrals are outstanding, noted the executive.

The Federal Council also recalls that in response to a National Councillor and Chairman of the PPD Gerhard Pfister (ZG) this fall will present what he considers the most appropriate approaches to address the issue.

The motion of Béglé was filed just days after a mission by a delegation of Swiss politicians in Eritrea who had done much to discuss. Besides Béglé, the group were, among others, the State Councillor in canton Aargau Susanne Hochuli (green) and the National Councillors Thomas Aeschi (UDC / ZG), Yvonne Feri (PS / AG) and Christian Wasserfallen (FDP / BE). On their return they had asked for more relations between Bern and Asmara to facilitate the referral to that country, from which the largest number of refugees in Switzerland.

Their initiative was criticized by politicians and humanitarian organizations, according to which the Swiss delegation did not have the means to get a realistic picture of the human rights situation on the ground.

Eritrean asylum seekers are a recurring topic at parliament. Already more than five years ago, the parliamentarians called for a readmission agreement that should enable Switzerland to return home those whose asylum application rejected.