Government proposes measures to improve asylum procedures

The government has proposed new measures to make current asylum procedures more efficient and less costly. The changes are to be debated between now and September 20.

This content was published on June 15, 2001 - 15:59

The cabinet said on Friday that amendments had to be made to the law to take account of new developments, European Union policy, and to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

But while it backed a tightening up of procedures, it rejected a proposal by the right-wing Swiss People's Party on stamping out alleged abuse of the system. The People's Party had argued that all asylum requests from individuals who had passed through a third country should be turned down.

The government said it would only turn down such requests in the event that the third country was considered safe for the asylum seeker to return to. A third country was considered safe if it had ratified and adhered to the European human rights convention and the Geneva convention on refugees, it said.

And in a move aimed at cutting administrative costs, the cabinet called on the cantons to standardise the lump sums paid to asylum seekers, regardless of individual need. It also proposed changes to the health insurance provision accorded to asylum seekers, with the aim of reducing the financial burden.

In a separate development on Friday, the government accepted criticism of its planned new law on foreigners and deferred further debate on the matter until the end of the year.

The law has been condemned on the one hand for giving preferential treatment to migrants from EU and European Free Trade Association countries, and on the other for showing an excessive fear of admitting foreigners.

swissinfo with agencies

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