Amnesty annual report: Switzerland called on to improve treatment of asylum seekers



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Amnesty International has been a global human rights watchdog for almost 60 years.



The forced separation of asylum-seeker families and the possible ‘Swiss law instead of foreign judges’ vote came under scrutiny in Amnesty International’s annual report, released on Thursday.

The NGO report focused particularly on the rigid treatment of migrants and asylum seekers which the Alpine nation is sometimes known for.

“The [Swiss] authorities sent back several asylum seekers to other Schengen countries by applying the Dublin regulation (a European Union text that determines which state should process applications) without considering the family bonds of these people in Switzerland,” Amnesty wrote.

They described the case of an Afghan family who were separated and imprisoned in 2016 before being sent back to Norway, a case that the Federal Supreme Court last year ruled had been a violation of the family’s rights.

Denise Graf, coordinator of the asylum division of Amnesty Switzerland, told that this was not an isolated case, and that Swiss cantons have only “partly” taken on board the court’s demand that they must find alternative solutions to the separation of families.

“In another case we discovered, a female asylum seeker was imprisoned until deportation while her son was placed alone in a centre,” she said. “Switzerland needs to take family links more into consideration,” she said.

The Amnesty report also noted cases – flagged up by the European Court of Human Rights – in which rejected asylum seekers were sent back to countries including Sri Lanka, Sudan, or Turkey where they would be in danger of suffering severe human rights abuses.

International obligations

It also reiterated the concern voiced by the UN Human Rights Council in August 2017 about the possible future vote on the ‘Swiss law instead of foreign judges’ initiative, which would grant primacy to the federal constitution over international law.

The UN, Amnesty repeated, demanded that Switzerland put in place a control mechanism which ensures that people’s initiatives conform to international law before they are put to the vote.

Amnesty launched the report in Washington DC, in a symbolic move to highlight the concern about the backsliding on human rights of the Trump Administration.

After a year in which discrimination against marginalised groups across the world had become ever more normalised and governments were turning a blind eye, the US stance on such issues represented a dangerous precedent, it said.

“The decision taken in January by the US to ban from its territory travellers from several Muslim-majority countries, an act of clear discrimination, set the tone for a year during which leaders led policies of hate with devastating consequences,” wrote Amnesty Secretary-General Salil Shetty in a press release.

SDA-ATS/dos, with input from Katy Romy


6 replies

  1. Hopefully Rafiq will be inspired by people of America is known as generous people as shown in this video.

    Hopefully young Ahmadiyyah will be inspired too

    • There are good and bad people everywhere. In Saudi Arabia one Saudi paid my lunch when I was in a Restaurant during Hajj. He did not need to do so. He did it just for the pleasure of Allah. Therefore of course there are good people in Saudi Arabia too.

      • I agree—there are some good people in Saudi—- America people has more good people than Saudi Arabia for sure, that is why thousand young Muslim Saudi come to America to learn a good thing from American.

        America hosted thousand ahmadiyyah refugee from Pakistan, how many did Saudi host Ahmadiyyah refugee?
        Can you count it for me Rafiq?

        Be honest is always good

        Do you agree that?

        So which one is better! It is logic

      • If I am not wrong the majority of members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at in America are not refugees, but academics, lawyers, doctors, scientists, businessmen. Therefore they are all a great benefit to the country they live in. (Well, the refugees too, as they would be working too).

      • I agree Ahmadiyyah are lovely Muslim and they are all greate benefit to the ciuntry they live in— why Pakistan did not protect them from persecuting by the extremist Muslim? What is wrong with Pakistan government, are they the extremist leader too? Very sad indeed.

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