EPDP Information Office
According to a Swiss daily, centre-right parties in Switzerland are extremely angry with the recent decision of the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) which created the precedent that European countries will no more be allowed to send refugees to country of first entry without making sure that the returned refugee will be treated humanely.
Tribute de Genève of November 4 reported that the European court decided in favour of Afghan family members in Switzerland who were asked to return to Italy where they the first entered and carry finger prints justifying that fact. However, the ECHR said Switzerland cannot send the family back to Italy before Switzerland first asks Italy if it is going to treat the family in good condition because no refugee should be returned to live under “inhumane and degrading” condition. The case of the family was brought to the court by a Swiss NGO.
The decision is a big blow to the Dublin accord which until now allowed European countries to send back refugees to the first point of entry in Europe, which is usually Italy.
The Swiss newspaper reported that Switzerland sent back to Italy last year 2,527 asylum seekers to Italy because they had finger prints. This figure represented 84% of all refugees returned to Italy in 2013. Most affected were Eritreans.
The paper further stated that asylum seekers are not given support in Italy which has place only for 8,000 asylum seekers/migrants. Currently, there are 64,000 asylum seekers/migrants in Italy and most of them are not provided with shelter or other support.
The right-wing parties in Switzerland are now threatening to ignore the ECHR decision.
The ECHR is a supranational or international institution based in Strasbourg, France, and established by the European Convention on Human Rights. It receives applications from individuals or groups of individuals alleging that a contracting state has breached human rights provisions in the European convention.