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Sri Lanka - Swiss sign treaty for repatriation

Sri Lanka and Switzerland have signed a bilateral immigration treaty which

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 basis for

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 Tamils who

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 Migration.

"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 nationals

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.

 

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