Switzerland suspends a reception program for vulnerable refugees.
Published on 20.12.2022
The Epoch Times with AFP reports whathas Swiss has suspended its participation in a UN program aimed at resettling vulnerable refugees, due to a lack of reception capacity, congested by an influx of people who fled the war in Ukraine, the authorities confirmed on Monday 19 December.
“The resettlement program will not be called into question, only admissions will be temporarily suspended”, spokesman for the State Secretariat for Migration, Lukas Rieder, told AFP in an email. He confirms information from the Sunday edition of the daily newspapers NZZ and Time.
The High Commissioner for Refugees works to resettle in third countries some of the most vulnerable refugees living in precarious conditions in their host communities.
For 2022, UNHCR had estimated that nearly 1.5 million refugees needed resettlement, although only a fraction of those places were available.
Switzerland, which has a population of 8.7 million, has pledged to resettle 1,820 vulnerable refugees in 2022 and 2023.
But time and the NZZ am Sonntag reported that the Department of Justice decided at a meeting in late November to suspend the program.
Mr. Rieder explained that“strong pressure” on the Swiss asylum system, in particular in terms of accommodation capacity and personnel, was at the origin of this decision.
Numbers unmatched since the Second World War
About 100,000 asylum seekers and refugees, including more than 70,000 fleeing the war raging in Ukraine, have arrived in Switzerland since the beginning of the year, figures which have not been equaled since the Second World War.
“Therefore, the working group in charge has recommended the temporary suspension of admissions under the 2022/2023 resettlement program”detailed the spokesperson.
As of mid-December, 641 people had already been resettled under the program, and he said that the approximately 400 refugees, who have already had the administrative green light, will be accommodated until next March. But the others will have to wait. This decision will be reassessed in the first half of 2023, Rieder said.
According to Timethe refugees in question are mostly from Afghanistan, Syria and Sudan, and include mainly women, children and people with health conditions deemed particularly vulnerable by UNHCR.