Bern says 9 June vote on asylum major step forward

Immigration in Switzerland

Citizens to vote on key reforms that would shift weight from cantons to federal gov’t BERN, SWITZERLAND – The debate has just opened on major Swiss reforms in the law covering asylum seekers. The federal government said Tuesday 26 March that a new law will simplify and speed up the procedure. Voters go to the […]

Sexual abuse against asylum-seekers suspected at centre

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Suspicions of inappropriate sexual relations between asylum-seekers and staff at a reception centre for asylum-seekers in canton Neuchatel are being investigated, the canton’s chancellery announced Friday 15 February. The investigation involves eight workers: five security agents from private security company NSA and three cantonal immigration employees who work at a centre in Perreux. […]

Switzerland steps up reorganization for handling asylum requests (update 2)

Immigration in Switzerland

30,000 requested asylum in 2012 BERN, SWITZERLAND – Switzerland in future will house its asylum seekers in five regions, each with several centres run by the federal government, with cantons taking a smaller share of them, a national conference involving all levels of government agreed Monday 21 January. The group issued a declaration at the […]

Asylum seeker dies in hospital; Lucerne refugee centre manager fired

Report positive on handling of refugees who are returned, as migration policies reviewed BASEL, SWITZERLAND – The complexities of Switzerland’s programmes for managing asylum seekers became apparent at the start of this week with three unrelated news items, from Basel, Bern and Lucerne: in canton Basel, an Eritrean woman who had applied for asylum and […]

Right-wing Swiss UDC (People’s Party) rides rough political waves

People’s Party in the news again, on several fronts: Zuppiger guilty of “confidence abuse”, Amnesty mockery, treaty block failure New anti-immigrants initiative surfaces GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Switzerland’s UDC right-wing party was back in the news in spades at the start of October. Former party candidate for the Federal Council, Switzerland’s cabinet, Bruno Zuppiger, was found […]

Recycled bikes, a green on green idea

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Vélos pour l’Afrique will be sending its 100,00oth recycled bicycle to Africa this week, a point brought to my attention by M-Way, the Migros shop that sells electronic bikes – and that is giving CHF250 discounts to anyone who buys a new e-bike and trades in their old bike. A great way […]

Parliament approves tougher asylum laws, effective end-September

BERN, SWITZERLAND – Both houses of parliament have now approved tougher measures for asylum seekers, including ending the possibility of using military desertion as a reason for applying. The upper house, in a 25-20 vote approved measures that will go into effect at the end of September, with the lower house having approved the more […]

“Unfounded” requests for Swiss asylum to get separate handling

BERN, SWITZERLAND – Switzerland has seen a spike in the number of requests for political asylum from European countries, determined to be “safe”, where the government is considered to provide adequate protection against persecution even for minority groups, and whose citizens do not need visas. Bern said Tuesday 21 August that as a result of […]

2nd ship accident in week brings Australian asylum debate to head

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – A ship loaded with asylum seekers has sunk 107 nautical miles north of Christmas Island, Australia, and rescue workers are looking for 19 missing people while helping the 120-136 survivors (there are conflicting reports on numbers). The accident is the second in Australian waters in one week, with six people dead and […]

Hot weekend in Switzerland: protests, music, clubbing controls


Climber falls to death near Grindelwald GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The first weekend of summer was a lively one in Switzerland. Geneva‘s streets and squares throbbed to the beats of the Fête de la Musique, which takes place over a weekend, this year right after summer solstice World Music Day, celebrated by some other Swiss towns. […]