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Observers to monitor deportation flights

Independent observers will monitor when Switzerland forcibly deports rejected asylum seekers who refuse to leave the country.

Authorities say the change in procedure has nothing to do with the death of a Nigerian man at Zurich airport last week, but is based on a European Union directive.

The man and 15 others had been due to take a special flight out of the country¨on Wednesday.

“An independent observer will likely be present during forcible returns in the future,” Jonas Montani, spokesman for the Federal Migration Office, told the Swiss News Agency on Sunday.

The EU directive requires monitoring during deportations. It should come into practice early 2011 but the details of how deportations will be monitored has not been determined.

Swiss authorities have stopped the deportation flights until further notice. Some 43 flights deporting 360 people left Switzerland last year, most toward the Balkans and Africa.

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