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Migration head comes under renewed fire

A top migration official has come in for more criticism over his claims that the majority of Nigerians wanting Swiss asylum are involved in criminal activities.

This content was published on April 26, 2010 - 12:43

An anti-racism organisation said that Alard du Bois-Reymond, director of the Federal Migration Office, should resign over the comments and the death last month of a Nigerian before a deportation flight. Du Bois-Reymond has defended his stance.

The Platform for Reflection on Anti-Black Racism said in a statement on Monday that the comments were based on prejudice and called for an independent investigation into the death.

The Nigerian man, a convicted drug dealer, had refused to leave the country and was on a hunger strike. He died shortly before a deportation flight.

For Amnesty International Switzerland, which met on Sunday, du Bois-Reymond’s comments were “unacceptable”. It wants independent observers to be on hand for deportation flights.

Speaking on public radio on Monday, du Bois-Reymond said that he had based his assertions – made in a newspaper interview earlier this month – on facts, namely that 99.5 per cent of Nigerian asylum requests had failed. This was because people came to do illegal business and not for asylum, he said.

But the new director, who has worked in Africa, said he had some sympathy for young people coming to Switzerland for economic reasons.

He went on to defend Swiss asylum policy. “Humanitarian action only works if there is a strict application of the rules,” he said.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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