18.03.21 Submission of the motion “Re-introduction of embassy asylum” in the Council of States
“The Federal Council is instructed to draw up a legal basis for the reintroduction of embassy asylum analogous to the former Article 20 Asylum Act of 26 June 1998. The catastrophic situation in the refugee camps on the edge of Europe has worsened due to the Covid pandemic. Even people with a legitimate claim to asylum are forced to fight their way illegally to Europe and Switzerland with the help of criminal smuggling organisations and under life-threatening circumstances in order to be able to apply for asylum. Since 2014, over 21,000 people have died in the Mediterranean on this flight, that’s ten people a day! This drama, which is also partly caused by our legislation, must be put to an end. This can be achieved relatively easily by reintroducing embassy asylum. This was abolished with the revision of the Asylum Act in 2012 because the Federal Council wanted to avoid Switzerland being the only European country to provide this possibility. But that was before the refugee crisis came to a head. In the meantime, however, we know the dramatic consequences that have resulted. The Federal Council has so far resisted the reintroduction of embassy asylum on the grounds that if Switzerland were to introduce it on its own, it would become a centre of attraction as a country of asylum. In doing so, the Federal Council fails to realise that embassy asylum allows for an orderly asylum procedure and that the definition of the procedure does not entail a decision on the admissibility criteria; these remain unchanged. Embassy asylum may cause more work for the administration; in view of the human tragedy of the current situation, this is undoubtedly justifiable.” Demand and justification of the motion “Re-introduction of embassy asylum”.
02.02.22 State Policy Committee proposes the rejection of the motion
“The State Policy Committee of the Council of States (SPK-S) was instructed by its Council to pre-consult on Motion 21.3282 submitted by Daniel Jositsch (ZH), Member of the Council of States. This motion demands that it should once again be possible to submit asylum applications to embassies, as was the case until the revision of the Asylum Act adopted in the 2013 referendum. Before taking a decision on this motion, which the Federal Council is proposing to reject, the Commission heard representatives of non-governmental organisations, the Swiss Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the Federal Migration Commission. After these hearings, and in light of the explanations provided by the Federal Council delegation, the Commission has come to the conclusion that a reintroduction of embassy asylum that is not coordinated with the member states of the European Union could have a pull effect. Moreover, the current law offers persons whose life or physical integrity is directly and seriously threatened sufficient possibilities to obtain protection in Switzerland, in particular through the humanitarian visa or resettlement programmes. The Commission therefore proposes to the Council to reject the motion by 6 votes to 4 with 1 abstention. The minority proposes its adoption, as it considers it unacceptable that the Swiss asylum system forces persons seeking protection to embark on the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean.” Media release of the State Policy Commission of 02.02.22
15.03.22 Council of States rejects the motion by 29 votes to 12
The debate in the Council of States can be read here.