New Swiss immigration deal signed with Sri Lanka
An immigration treaty that includes details on the repatriation of Sri Lankans who currently live in Switzerland has been signed between the Swiss Justice Minister, Simonetta Sommaruga, and her Sri Lankan counterpart.
Currently, around 50,000 Sri Lankans live in Switzerland. They are mostly Tamils who fled Sri Lanka's 30-year civil war that ended in 2009. Sri Lanka has said that it would like its citizens to return home. However, certain Swiss human rights groups say they fear people who return could be abducted, arrested or tortured.
Ms. Sommaruga, who is on a three-day visit to Sri Lanka, says that each Sri Lankan who hasn't been granted permanent Swiss residence will be assessed to decide if they need help, whether they should be granted asylum and if repatriation is possible and reasonable.
At the end of May this year, more than 1,300 asylum applications from Sri Lankan nationals were being considered by Swiss authorities. In total, over 5,000 Sri Lankans have been taken in by Switzerland. More than 3,600 of them have been given refugee status. More than 1,600 are in Switzerland temporarily and potentially face the threat of expulsion.