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11 November 2020

Rejected asylum seekers: "unreasonable dependence on state emergency aid

Photo ZVg Terre Des Hommes Switzerland By Claude Giger
Photo ZVg Terre Des Hommes Switzerland By Claude Giger

Media Release - People whose asylum applications have been rejected often live in precarious conditions. The Swiss emergency aid system is not working, criticises terre des hommes schweiz. The development organisation has commissioned a study to examine the situation in the cantons of Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landschaft in particular. At a prominent Podium event with video live streaming it is presented.

People with a negative asylum decision and a legally valid removal order must leave Switzerland. Many do not do so and some cannot do so if, for example, their country of origin does not provide them with the necessary documents for a return. In 2019, 6784 people with a negative asylum decision received emergency aid in Switzerland. In the fourth quarter of 2019, 2272 persons were among the so-called long-term residents (LAB).

"The Swiss emergency aid regime is not working", criticises Sylvia Valentin, responsible for migration issues at terre des hommes schweiz. Not only are more and more people staying in this system for longer and longer "under sometimes precarious conditions", she explains. The regulation also makes integration impossible, she says: "Asylum seekers who receive emergency aid are 'parked' for years. This endangers their mental health."

Since 2008, rejected asylum-seekers who have been deported receive only emergency aid and no more asylum social assistance (social assistance stop). According to emergency assistance, enshrined in Article 12 of the Swiss Federal Constitution, every person in Switzerland is entitled to livelihood security if he or she is in need and is not able to support himself or herself. Food, clothing, hygiene articles, basic medical care or shelter are considered to be livelihood-securing. "What is needed are solutions that enable these people to live a dignified existence," says Sylvia Valentin of terre des hommes schweiz. There are migrants with a decision to leave Switzerland who stay in Switzerland for a long time, she says. Whether with or without a regulated residence status, the new asylum procedure may be used for a shorter period of time.

On 11 November 2020 in Basel, five experts from politics, authorities and civil society will discuss possible solutions that go beyond individual fate and are both sensible and feasible from a socio-political and economic perspective. At the event organised by terre des hommes schweiz in the market hall and with live video transmission, an exploratory study will be presented on the situation of rejected asylum seekers in Basel-Stadt (BS) and Baselland (BL) who receive emergency aid.

terre des hommes switzerland demands: The system of emergency aid must be adapted to the reality of the people who receive it, the measures for their minimal livelihood must be improved and the basic attitude towards rejected asylum seekers in emergency aid must change. Sylvia Valentin: "It makes no sense to force people to remain in a precarious dependence on the state. Asylum seekers in emergency aid should be able to do gainful employment, go to school or do an apprenticeship and live in decent housing".

People flee from war, violence and poverty. For terre des hommes schweiz, their search for a life of well-being, protection and security must neither be criminalised nor politically exploited. People with a flight background, especially children and young people, are particularly vulnerable. terre des hommes schweiz is therefore committed to the rights and protection of children and young people with a flight background, including the professional initiative "Stop administrative detention for children!

Link: https://www.terredeshommesschweiz.ch/podium-asyl-2020/

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