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Call for solidarity with rejected asylum seekers

The non-governmental Swiss Refugee Council has called for restraint in sending rejected asylum seekers back to neighbouring Italy.

An estimated 50,000 people reached the shores of Italy from northern Africa following the political upheaval in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya earlier this year.

Switzerland has sent back about one thousand people to Italy in the first six months of the year. Two hundred requests are still pending, while Italy has refused to take back more than 250 people who apparently entered Switzerland from Italy.

On Monday the Refugee Council said many asylum seekers and refugees were living in streets as the Italian authorities could not provide the necessary infrastructure to put them up.

It said families with children, single women or infirm asylum seekers were particularly at risk as a fact-finding mission had established.

The council stressed that more than a dozen courts in Germany had halted the deportations to Italy on the grounds of precarious living conditions for refugees in Italy.

However, the Federal Migration Office has dismissed the demands, saying Italy had approved new humanitarian measures for refugees.

Under an asylum agreement, Switzerland can send rejected asylum seekers back to the first European country they were registered.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR