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International Women's Day Petition calls for more empathy for abused asylum-seekers

simonetta sommaruga

The petition called for the attention of Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga.

(Keystone)

A petition of over 8,000 signatures demanding better treatment for sexually abused women seeking asylum in Switzerland has been handed into the Federal Chancellery by a collection of associations.

Gathered under the umbrella of the “Appel d’ellesexternal link” (“Women’s Call”) collective, the petition says that women who have been abused or raped prior to or during their exile are not adequately taken into consideration by the Swiss asylum system.

To ignore the stories of these women and how they were (and continue to be) affected amounts to “a disgraceful treatment by Switzerland”, the groups say. They argue that by rejecting such asylum-seekers and returning them to another country under the Dublin system endangers not only their lives but also those of their children.

+ More on how the Swiss asylum system works

+ Amnesty have called on Switzerland to improve treatment of asylum-seekers

Appel d’elles also said that the expulsion of somebody who has undergone sexual abuse contravenes Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rightsexternal link, which prohibits torture as well as inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

After handing in the petition to the Federal Chancellery in Bern on Thursday, a choir of the activists performed a song aimed at attracting the attention of Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga, with whom they want to debate the issue.

Equal pay 

Around 500 women gathered in the Swiss capital Bern to demand equal wages. Several of them criticised the senate’s recent decision to refer back a proposal to impose wage transparency on companies. Another demonstation for equal pay took place in Geneva and was organised by the political left and unions. Around 300 people took part and also demanded wage transparency.



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