Committee of the Council of States rejects reintroduction of embassy asylum
In March 2021, a motion was submitted calling for the reintroduction of embassy asylum. This would restore the possibility of applying for asylum without having to reach Switzerland via the perilous flight routes. More than 21,000 people have lost their lives on the Mediterranean alone since 2014. On 02.02.22, the State Policy Committee called for the rejection of the motion. The argumentation against the motion speaks of a “pull effect” if Switzerland remains the only country in Europe with this possibility. Moreover, there are already enough possibilities to obtain protection in Switzerland, “especially via the humanitarian visa or through resettlement programmes”. The first argument already linguistically joins a racist vocabulary next to “wave of refugees”, as if people fleeing were an unpredictable force of nature. This talk of the “pull factor” has also been used for years by states all over Europe to evade responsibility, although this migration myth has already been refuted many times. The second argument has little to do with the reality of the Swiss asylum system, as shown, for example, by the current treatment of refugees from Afghanistan or the non-exhaustion of resettlement possibilities.
State initiative to improve federal asylum procedures adopted by the SPK
In the spring of 2021, Basel-Stadt asked the federal parliament and the federal authorities to ensure effective and rapid asylum procedures for people stuck on the Greek islands. The initiative calls for this to be ensured in particular by fully utilising the cantonal and federal asylum centres. In view of the persistently inhumane conditions in the Greek camps, the federal government must act urgently. This was also agreed to by the State Policy Commission, which ultimately approved the initiative by a casting vote of 4:3 by President Marco Romano of the EPP. The Commission based its decision on the conviction that cities must be given a greater role in decisions concerning the reception of people seeking protection. This is in view of the fact that numerous cities and municipalities have already expressed solidarity with people on the run and have spoken out in favour of additional reception.