Swiss Parliament: ‘More Diplomacy with Eritrea’

swiss parliament eritrea
Swiss Parliament adopted a motion calling the Federal Council to intensify relations with authorities in Eritrea to try to reduce the flow of migrants

By Corrier Del Ticino,

The Federal Council must step up its diplomatic activities with the Eritrean authorities to try to reduce, as far as possible, the flow of migrants from that country. Following the debate, the house have adopted today a motion tabled by National Counsellor Claude Béglé (PPD/VD).

The parliamentary act has several objectives: to get a greater commitment on the part of the Eritrean authorities in the context of respecting for human rights, to conclude a readmission agreement and implement an economic development program for Eritrea.

Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter did not oppose the motion, while stressing that the situation in Eritrea remains difficult and the possibility of cooperation with this country is currently limited.

The implementation of the parliamentary act depends on the steps that the African country is willing to make, steps currently insufficient, said the Foreign Minister.

Switzerland, in any case, is in favor of concluding a readmission agreement. So far, however, Eritrea systematically refuses any kind of cooperation in cases of forced return. There is also the problem of the lack of guarantees on the safety for people who do return to the country.

The motion was filed just days after a mission by a delegation of Swiss politicians were in Eritrea who had done much discussion. Besides, the group were among others the State Councillor of Aargau Susanne Hochuli (Green) and the National Council Thomas Aeschi (UDC / ZG), Yvonne Feri (PS / AG) and Christian Wasserfallen (FDP / BE).

On their return, they had asked for more relations between Bern and Asmara to facilitate referral to that country, where the highest number of refugees in Switzerland.

Their initiative has been criticized by politicians and humanitarian organizations that the Swiss delegation had not the means to get a true picture of the human rights situation on the ground.

The Eritrean asylum seekers are a recurring issue at the parliament. Already for more than five years, members of Parliaments had called for a readmission agreement that would allow Switzerland to return home those whose asylum applications had been rejected.

* Software Translation from Italian