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Respite over for Vaud asylum seekers

Rejected asylum seekers could find sanctuary in a church refuge Keystone

Canton Vaud is set to deport about 400 rejected asylum seekers, after a stay of execution during the holiday period expired on Monday.

This content was published on January 3, 2005 - 10:30

Those affected had their residency applications turned down in August and they face the prospect of being forcibly repatriated.

The majority are from former Yugoslavia and include many who fled their homes after war broke out in the region during the 1990s.

However, there is still some light at the end of the tunnel for the asylum seekers: three new refuges have opened in the canton.

One, the “Migration House”, belongs to the Catholic parish of Saint Jean-Baptiste in Grandson.

It opened on Sunday after the intervention of a regional branch of the non-governmental organisation, Asylum Coordination.

Not-too-distant past

Vaud’s cantonal government has been criticised in the past for being reluctant to expel failed asylum seekers.

It has a long tradition of offering humanitarian assistance and had even set up a legal service to help those seeking asylum.

Vaud was the only canton that did not follow federal instructions to deport those whose applications to stay in Switzerland had been rejected.

Last year, it came under pressure from the federal authorities in Bern to fall into line with other cantons.

The French-speaking canton announced in September that it would remove people without temporary resident status and “if necessary, and, as a last resort, this will be done by force”.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

The federal authorities rejected the residency applications of 523 people living in Vaud in August 2004.
Fourteen have voluntarily left the country.
A further 45 were granted the right to stay after their dossiers were re-examined.

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