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Children suffer in ‘run down’ Swiss deportation facilities

Children take class in an asylum centre
Chilren, families and women are being let down in the three deportation centres. © Keystone / Gian Ehrenzeller

Three Swiss deportation centres have been criticised for failing to adequately care for children and families. Inspections found that children are confined to small living spaces and that contact with the outside world is unduly restricted.

On Thursday, the National Commission for the Prevention of Torture delivered its findings on the Aarwangen, Biel and Gampelen centres in canton Bern. Two of the facilities were described asExternal linkrun down and have outdated infrastructure”.

“These conditions are not compatible with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child,” said Commission President Regula Mader.

Conditions violate childrens’ rights to decent living conditions and the right to rest and leisure, play and age-appropriate active recreation, the report found.

The Commission recommended that shared bathroom facilities be separated by gender and that women and girls should be accommodated in different areas than single men.

Some women told inspectors that theydo not feel safe in the common areas of the shelter, especially at night.”

The Commission said it recognised the difficulties of accommodating people who have been ordered to return to their countries and welcomed efforts that have already been made to improve conditions in canton Bern.

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