The director of Switzerland's Migration Office travelled to Geneva on Thursday to meet the Nigerian ambassador for an informal discussion on asylum issues.This content was published on April 29, 2010 - 16:15
Alard du Bois-Reymond had irritated Nigerian authorities with remarks about Nigerians making a high number of unjustified asylum requests. The comments were published in a Zurich newspaper on April 11.
Du Bois-Reymond and Ambassador Martin Uhomoibhi spoke for one hour. The meeting was organised by the Swiss mission to the United Nations in Geneva.
Nearly all Nigerians – more than 99 per cent – are rejected when applying for asylum in Switzerland. Du Bois-Reymond said the applicants are “not coming to seek asylum but to do illegal business”. A large part of the group engages in petty crime and drug dealing, he said. Amnesty International called the remarks “unacceptable”.
The Migration Office plans to establish a task force with federal and cantonal authorities to find ways to send rejected asylum seekers home more quickly. The measures should be ready for review by autumn.
The deportation of a young Nigerian who had been convicted of drug dealing and denied asylum turned tragic last month when the 29-year-old man fell ill and died at Zurich Airport shortly before boarding a special flight to Lagos. He had been on a hunger strike and had to be forcibly restrained.
An autopsy on the man revealed no clues as to the cause of his death. An investigation is underway.
swissinfo.ch and agencies