Sri Lanka - Swiss sign treaty for repatriation
Sri Lanka and Switzerland have signed a bilateral immigration treaty
will make it feasible for the European country to easily repatriate
Sri Lankans who no longer fulfil the condition for continued residence
in the country.
In a statement issued last week, the Justice Ministry in Switzerland
said, the treaty will stenghten cooperation with Sri Lankan
authorities on matters relating to voluntary repatriation, fight against
slavery, trafficking and migration management.
"In the medium term, the agreement can be extended to provide the
a more comprehensive migration partnership once further progress on
human rights has been achieved," said Sommaruga, who is on a three-day
visit to Sri Lanka.
Around 50,000 people from Sri Lanka live in Switzerland, mostly
have sought asylum. Sommaruga rejected criticism that Switzerland was
sending people to be tortured, explaining that the agreement does not
affect the asylum decision-making procedure of the State Secretariat for
"As before, with this immigration treaty every person will be checked
whether they are in need of help, whether they are granted asylum and
whether repatriation is possible and reasonable. Nothing has changed
there," she said.
At the end of May 2016, 1,316 asylum applications from Sri Lankan
were pending at the Secretariat for Migration. In total, over 5,000
Sri Lankans have been taken in by Switzerland, of whom 3,674 have been
given refugee status. A total of 1,613 have been admitted provisionally,
and potentially face the threat of expulsion.