Marriage rights sought for illegal immigrants

A coalition of non-governmental organisations says Switzerland is violating the human rights of illegal immigrants seeking to marry.

This content was published on January 17, 2008 - 17:46

The group of politicians, trade unions, churches and charities says that illegal immigrants and rejected asylum-seekers face an increasing amount of federal red tape as well as a maze of administrative hurdles that vary in each of the country's 26 cantons.

The coalition says amendments to a federal law on foreigners, introduced at the beginning of the year, put future couples at the mercy of registrars.

It rejects a proposal by a member of the rightwing Swiss People's Party to ban people without a residence permit from marrying.

There are an estimated 1,000 so-called marriages of convenience in Switzerland every year, but the coalition argues that the term is not clearly defined.

The panel has scheduled a meeting with federal and cantonal authorities next week.

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