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Asylum seekers


A political welcome for youth on their own



Some 20 youths who left their home country as political refugees without their parents gained an audience – and pushed for more latitude and rights – at the federal parliament building with a young member of Switzerland’s second-biggest political party.

The unaccompanied minors, who are seeking asylum in Switzerland, met to discuss the government’s asylum policies on Wednesday in Bern with Mattea Meyer of Winterthur, a 28-year-old parliamentarian with the leftwing Social Democratic Party.

“It is very important for me to make a policy with the young people – and not about them,” Meyer said in a statement (in German) from the Swiss National Youth Council of Bern after the meeting.

The youth peppered her with questions while learning about the federal asylum procedures. Earlier this year, voters backed government plans to speed up asylum procedures in Switzerland. The conservative right Swiss People’s Party had challenged the legal amendment.

Permit constraints, and long waits

But the young asylum seekers say they wish the “F” permit for provisionally admitted foreigners – people for whom an order to return from Switzerland to their native countries would constitute a violation of international law – allowed for more possibilities and rights.

According the youth council, which sponsored the meeting in parliament as part of a project and serves as an umbrella organisation for dozens of youth groups, several youths who met with Meyer have waited longer than a year and a half for an asylum decision – making it hard to plan a future.

“Currently, the F-ID makes the integration of many of us more difficult and creates inequalities,” the council said on Thursday. “With an ID that allows more rights and opportunities, we can more easily train our families, go to school, and we no longer need to depend on social assistance.”

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