Asylum / Protection from persecution
For centuries, people who have been persecuted for religious or political reasons have sought protection in Switzerland. The reason for this lies not only in Switzerland’s geographical position but just as much so in the political, religious and cultural diversity of the country.
The term refugee and Asylum law
In 1951, in response to the horrors of the Second World War, the international community of states concluded a protective convention in Switzerland: the Geneva Convention offered single persons and groups better protection against political repression, persecution, violence and racism. The core of the Convention defines who is to be considered a refugee with the right to claim protection from the Signatory States. The Geneva Convention was used as a plattform for the Swiss Asylum Law. A refugee is a person who in their native country or in the country of last residence is subject to serious disadvantages or has a well-founded fear of being exposed to serious disadvantages for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. Serious disadvantages are: threat to life, physical integrity or freedom as well as measures exerting an unbearable psychological pressure. Flight motives specific to women are taken into account (Article 3 Asylum Act).
The Asylum Procedure Directorate at the State Secretariat for Migration is responsible for asylum proceedings. This State Secretariat carries out a careful and individual examination of each asylum application. The Swiss Authorities are applying the Dublin Agreement since the 12th december 2008. This association treaty define the competences of the single member state in terms of conducting the asylum procedure. The competence for treating the demand of asylum is going to be of the first country where the demand of asylum has been submited. This can be determined easily by EURODAC fingerprint data-base. Thus should prevent that a asylum seeker would submit multiple asylum demands in different member countries of the treaty. Those cases when Switzerland is responsible for a demand of asylum, the manifestly abusive applications will be dismissed. In the case of the other applications, the office has to examine whether the asylum claims are credible and – if so – whether the person in question fulfils the requirements for obtaining refugee status under the Asylum Act.
The public social assistance authorities provide support to destitute asylum seekers, provisionally admitted persons and persons with refugee status.