Church to monitor deportation flights

The Federation of Protestant Churches is to monitor forced deportations of rejected asylum seekers refusing to leave Switzerland.

This content was published on June 15, 2011 - 18:20 and agencies

The Federal Migration Office said the church federation had agreed to take the mandate for a six-month trial period and would be assisted by the non-governmental Refugee Council.

Former police and justice directors or law professors will carry out the tasks for the federation, according to a statement on Wednesday.

In March 2010 Swiss migration authorities announced they were seeking independent observers to accompany such deportation flights in line with a European Union directive.

The regulation was due to come into effect earlier this year but was delayed after NGOs such as Amnesty International rejected the mandate.

Last year Switzerland temporarily suspended deportation flights following the death of a Nigerian asylum seeker at Zurich airport. The flights resumed in June 2010 and have since included a doctor on board.

Around 50 deportation flights take place every year.

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