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Authorities urged to take softer line towards Kosovo refugees

A Swiss refugee organisation has called on the government to ease its policy towards refugees from Kosovo. The authorities have given the refugees until June to leave Switzerland, or face forcible repatriation.

This content was published on March 14, 2000 - 19:17

A Swiss refugee organisation has called on the government to ease its policy towards refugees from Kosovo. The authorities have given the refugees until June to leave Switzerland, or face forcible repatriation.

Denouncing the government's attitude as unproductive, Switzerland's Refugee Council said the repatriation programme was unrealistic, and urged that the deadline be delayed.

The Refugee Council said the government was fooling itself if it expected the 30,000 Kosovo refugees in Switzerland to leave of their own accord by the end of May.

It said violence in Kosovo was still rife, and that people from ethnic minorities, notably gypsies, as well as families, and the old and sick, should be allowed to remain beyond June.

Nearly 50,000 refugees fled to Switzerland during last year's conflict, and fewer than half have returned to Kosovo.

swissinfo and agencies

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