Maintain the right to asylum for Eritreans in Switzerland!

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Since 2016, Switzerland has been rejecting an increasing number of asylum requests from Eritreans. However, the situation in Eritrea, one of the most brutal dictatorships in the world, has not changed. Sign the petition to demand that Switzerland respects its humanitarian tradition.

IN FAVOUR OF RIGHT OF ASYLUM FOR ERITREANS!

To the attention of the Federal Councillor,

 

Dear Madam,

The change of attitude from Switzerland towards Eritreans shocks us deeply : since the Summer of 2016, Switzerland has started to reject the asylum requests of a great number of Eritrean applicants whilst the situation in Eritrea has clearly not improved. We consider that the Parliament hounds the nationals of this country; for example, in 2013, a very unfair “lex eritrea” was imposed on them (“Persons who are subject to serious disadvantages or have a well-founded fear of being exposed to such disadvantages because they have refused to perform military service or have deserted are not refugees.” art. 3.3 Lasi).

The special spokesperson of the UNO on the rights of migrants, François Crépeau, criticizes this hardening attitude of Switzerland, considering “that there is no valid reason whatsoever which justifies this change”. (Le Temps, 17.02.2017).

According to the reports of UNO, Eritreans continue to suffer from the following violations:

Military service of unlimited duration with forced labour; raids on men, women and children considered fit to serve ; immediate execution of recalcitrants ; rape of women by officers or other soldiers ; arbitrary arrests and detentions, including detention in solitary confinement ; infringement of freedom of movement, expression and opinion, assembly, association and religion. The government, which controls all internal media, is accused of crimes against humanity.

The reasons frequently stated by the Migration State Secretaryship (SEM) to refuse asylum to applicants relate to incoherences in their accounts, particularly about the date of their conscription in the armed forces or the number of months or years they spent in it.

However, the relationship to the calendar does not have the same importance in that country as it has in ours; for example, a great number of people do not even know their date of birth.

They are also accused of a lack of details in their accounts of notification or jailing.

Here we come across a central point concerning the arbitrariness of the hearings: most of these migrants are extremely stressed and traumatized and go to pieces especially when it comes to retrieving dates. Besides, several asylum seekers have told people they trust, that certain events are so painful that they have great difficulty in recounting them to strangers at the time of the hearing.

They also say that they were too afraid of the Swiss police during their first hearing to dare tell that they had been arrested and imprisoned in their country.

It is distressing to note that much of the present-day research in neuro-sciences about the natural transformation of memories and on the effects of traumatisms on human behavior and memory is not at all taken into account in the evaluation of these accounts.

The persons who have their request rejected have “the choice” of either returning to Eritrea, which they will certainly not going to risk, and the Swiss emergency help which provides them with a status of assisted persons, allowing them to barely live with Frs 10.- per day and preventing them from working.

This is not taking into account the important costs this status incurs and it is all the more detrimental that most of these asylum seekers are young and motivated to be trained in professions for which Switzerland often lacks manpower.

Risks for Eritreans who return to their country are thus described by Mrs. Sheila B. Keetharuth, special spokesperson of the UNO on human rights in Eritrea :

“Unsuccessful asylum seekers and other returnees, including national service evaders and deserters, face torture, detention and disappearance in Eritrea. It is therefore of paramount importance to end bilateral and other arrangements between Eritrea and third countries that jeopardize the lives of those seeking asylum.”

 

The first paragraph of article 3 of the Convention against torture stipulates clearly :

“No State Party shall expel, return or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.”

In view of the above, we ask that the hearings of migrants should be carried out according to criteria respecting the humanitarian tradition of Switzerland and that asylum should be granted to any Eritrean seekers facing the risk of bad treatments in his/her country, this with immediate and retroactive effect.

Hoping to have held all your attention and in expectation of an answer, we extend to you, dear Madam, our best greetings.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Citizen action for an asylum policy worthy of Switzerland :

Groupe d’Appui aux Réfugiés (GAR), Bex ; Groupe d’accueil des Migrants d’Epalinges (GAMEP) ; Groupe Accueil Migrants de la Vallée de Joux (GAMVJ ) ; Coordination Asile et Migration Nord Vaudois (CAMINV) ; Association Ste-Agnès, Leysin ; Versoix accueille ; Stopexclusion, Genève ; elisa-asile, Genève ; Solidaritätsnetz Bern ; Give a Hand, Bern.

 

Support committee:

 

· Veronica Almedom, membre de la Commission fédérale des migrations, co-directrice d’IFE (Information Forum for Eritrea)

· Associazione DaRe-Diritto a Restare, Ticino

· Centre social protestant (CSP) Vaud

· Collectif R, Vaud

· Communauté S. Egidio, Lausanne

· Coordination asile.ge

· Robert Cramer, conseiller aux États, GE, Les Verts

· Jean-Michel Dolivo, député au Grand Conseil, VD, Solidarités

· Droit de rester, Vaud

· Eglise évangélique réformée du canton de Vaud (EERV)

· Balthasar Glättli, conseiller national, ZH, Les Verts

· Ada Marra, conseillère nationale, VD, PS

· Lisa Mazzone, conseillère nationale, GE, Les Verts

· Maurice Mischler, syndic, Epalinges, député au Grand Conseil, VD, Les Verts

· Luc Recordon, ancien conseiller aux États, municipal, Jouxtens-Mézery (VD), Les Verts

· Claude Ruey, ancien conseiller d’État et ancien conseiller national, VD, PLR

· Secrétariat romand de l’Entraide Protestante Suisse (EPER)

· SOS Asile Vaud

· Adèle Thorens, conseillère nationale, VD, Les Verts

 



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