Jump to content
Your browser is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this websites. Learn how to update your browser[Close]

Signatures submitted

Votes forced on asylum and vaccinations

Opponents of changes to the asylum law gathered before the Bundeshaus to deliver signatures to force a referendum (Keystone)

Opponents of changes to the asylum law gathered before the Bundeshaus to deliver signatures to force a referendum


Recent controversial changes to Swiss asylum law will be put to a national vote. A group of primarily left-wing organisations and parties opposed to the changes handed in more than 60,000 signatures on Thursday to force a referendum.

The law’s opponents are especially critical of revisions stipulating that people can no longer apply for asylum at Swiss embassies abroad and that conscientious objectors and deserters will no longer be considered for asylum status.

However, left-wing parties - in particular the Social Democrats - were divided over whether to support the collection of signatures. The party's president, Christian Levrat, warned that a referendum would be counterproductive.

The changes to Switzerland’s asylum policy, which are already in effect because parliament considered them urgent and voted on them in September 2012, will last until the end of September 2015. If the Swiss people vote against the changes, they will only be in effect until September 2013.

The asylum law revisions also allow for the creation of special centres for unruly asylum seekers already in the country as well as tests of various procedures to speed up asylum requests. Furthermore, federal authorities are allowed to provide accommodation for asylum seekers for up to three years without asking explicit permission from cantonal authorities.

Also on Thursday, opponents of changes in the Swiss vaccination law handed in more than 80,000 signatures to force a referendum on that issue. The vaccination law, which had not been updated since 1970, was revised in September 2012 to recommend vaccination for some high-risk groups and health workers. The signatures were collected primarily by members of conservative organisations, who opposed changes which they fear could give the government a mandate to force vaccinations on the general public in future.

Dates for the votes will be set in the future, after signatures have been verified and counted.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


All rights reserved. The content of the website by swissinfo.ch is copyrighted. It is intended for private use only. Any other use of the website content beyond the use stipulated above, particularly the distribution, modification, transmission, storage and copying requires prior written consent of swissinfo.ch. Should you be interested in any such use of the website content, please contact us via contact@swissinfo.ch.

As regards the use for private purposes, it is only permitted to use a hyperlink to specific content, and to place it on your own website or a website of third parties. The swissinfo.ch website content may only be embedded in an ad-free environment without any modifications. Specifically applying to all software, folders, data and their content provided for download by the swissinfo.ch website, a basic, non-exclusive and non-transferable license is granted that is restricted to the one-time downloading and saving of said data on private devices. All other rights remain the property of swissinfo.ch. In particular, any sale or commercial use of these data is prohibited.