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Refugee attitudes - Switzerland

The #US withdrawal from #Afghanistan in August 2021 led thousands of Afghans to flee to safety. While most made their way into the neighbouring countries, primarily #Pakistan and #Iran, they found it extremely difficult to receive asylum in European countries. Within a week of the #Taliban takeover, #Switzerland declared that it will not accept any new Afghan arrivals. The majority of the #asylumseekers in Switzerland are Afghans. According to #SEM, in July 2021, 12,500 Afghans were in the asylum process. In the last 25 years, more than 26,000 #asylum applications have been filed by Afghan nationals. Out of these, around 1,500 were #deported to third countries or Dublin states and 80 have been deported to Afghanistan. Additionally, only around 16.5% of Afghans who apply are granted asylum in Switzerland. The reluctance to take in more refugees followed an earlier announcement by the Swiss government made on May 19, 2021. The government announced to take in up to 1,600 refugees until the end of 2023, with the maximum beneficiaries being persons fleeing from five different countries. The list of countries was, however, not provided. Only a small contingent of 10 % was expected to be reserved for refugees from other countries. The country was also criticized for its treatment of refugees and asylum seekers. Earlier this year, investigation by #AmnestyInternational exposed abuse by private security staff in federal asylum centres. The outbreak of the war in #Ukraine has led to a fresh wave of people fleeing their homes to safety. Despite reluctance to take in other refugees, Switzerland has welcomed Ukrainians and made them eligible for ‘S’ protection in Switzerland. ‘S’ protection enables rapid admission of many refugees without lengthy asylum procedures. It also helps one receive a one-year temporary residence permit and access accommodation, social benefits, medical care and entitled to join the labour market immediately. In yet another display of hypocrisy, the S Status, which has existed since the 90s, was never applied before in the past 20 years, not for the Syrians, Afghans or anyone else.

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