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Swiss suspend deportations to Ivory Coast

Switzerland has suspended the deportation of rejected asylum seekers from Ivory Coast as a political crisis deepens in the West African country.

The Federal Migration Office said the decision not to send back asylum seekers was taken five weeks ago in the wake of unrest following the presidential elections.

A spokeswoman confirmed that in November, the latest month for which figures were available, 122 Ivorians were in the process of having their asylum applications examined. She told swissinfo.ch that she could not say exactly how many had been affected by the suspension.

In December, the Federal Administrative Court criticised the deportation of rejected asylum seekers by the Swiss authorities to unsafe countries. However, the decision on Ivory Coast had already been made before then.

Switzerland has followed many other countries in recognising the victory of Alassane Outtara in November’s presidential election.

A new mediation effort by African countries to convince incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo to cede power appears to have failed on Tuesday.

About 170 people are reported to have been killed in the last five weeks, with fresh clashes on Tuesday leaving at least another three dead. Thousands of people have fled to neighbouring countries.

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SWI swissinfo.ch - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI swissinfo.ch - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR