Focus Politics Switzerland

On March 16, 2023, the National Council passed a motion for extraordinary humanitarian measures for asylum seekers in emergency aid from old-law asylum procedures

The Swiss Yesterday, March 16, 2023, the National Council submitted a motion for extraordinary humanitarian measures for asylum seekers, especially for people who receive emergency aid from old-law asylum procedures, goodbye. The motion was approved by 100 votes to 81 with 5 abstentions.

The extraordinary humanitarian motion aims to find a humanitarian solution for rejected asylum seekers under the old Swiss asylum procedure. Switzerland put the new asylum procedure into effect on March 1, 2019, and the motion aims to make things easier for all rejected asylum seekers who submitted their application before February 28, 2019.

National Councilor Nik Gugger presents the motion in Parliament

Former National Councilor Marianne Streiff-Feller, who was also a member of the parliamentary support group for Tibet, submitted the motion on March 16, 2021. After her resignation, the motion was taken over by National Councilor Niklaus Samuel Gugger and presented to the National Council on March 16, 2023. National Councilor Niklaus Gugger, who is also Co-President of the Parliamentary Group for Tibet, pointed out when presenting the motion that over 3 people are stuck in Switzerland under the old asylum law and that for these people who are in Switzerland are very well integrated, there must be a humanitarian solution. He specifically pointed out that this is a solution for specific people, including Tibetan victims.

A few years ago, on March 10, 2021, a joint petition with over 3.000 signatures was presented to the Swiss government demanding a humanitarian solution for around 300 rejected Tibetan asylum seekers in Switzerland. The Swiss-Tibetan Friendship Society, the Tibetan community in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, the Tibetan Women's Organization in Switzerland and the Tibetan Youth Association in Europe jointly organized the signature campaign.                  

In filing the petition, Thinlay Chukki, then Special Representative for Human Rights at the Geneva Tibet Office, stated that "this petition is of the utmost importance because these Tibetans, especially the youth, are the future of the Tibetan struggle and it is worrying seeing them languish with no prospect of a solution”, and had urged the Swiss government and parliamentarians to find a humanitarian solution for these Tibetans.

The petition was also discussed at the last meeting of the Parliamentary Group on Tibet on March 7, 2023. The representative Thinlay Chukki, the member of the Tibetan exile parliament from Europe Thupten Gyatso, the president of the Tibetan community in Switzerland and Liechtenstein Karma Choekyi and the president of the Swiss-Tibetan Friendship Society, Thomas Büchli, wanted the parliamentarians to see the petition support.

The representative of the Dalai Lama, Thinlay Chukki, welcomed the passage of the motion and thanked the parliamentarians for their support of the motion: "It took more than two years until the demands of the petition were passed as a motion that not only the Tibetans, but also benefits all other rejected asylum seekers. We very much hope that the motion will be accepted by the Council of States and thus implemented by the Swiss government in order to grant a humanitarian solution to the rejected asylum seekers who are stuck under the old asylum procedure.”

The motion for an extraordinary humanitarian solution is expected to be presented to the Council of States in the next session.

In an email to the GSTF, the author of the motion, Marianne Streiff-Feller, was "very happy about this first step and I hope that enough councilors can then be persuaded to take a YES."

Here is the Office of Tibet Geneva's report on the adoption of the motion

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