Yes on asylum law on June 5

The revision of the asylum law, which will be put to the vote on June 5, is intended to accelerate the execution of asylum procedures. In order to safeguard the basic rights of asylum seekers despite more rapid processing, the new law includes provisions for legal protection extended by the state. The Federation of Swiss Protestant churches supports this revision.

The FSPC supports the acceleration of asylum procedures as this reduces the time refugees face uncertainty about their future. Up until now, asylum procedures often went on for years, thus obstructing the social and occupational integration of the affected individuals, even though a majority of asylum seekers is granted protection nowadays. Shorter procedures thus have positive effects for refugees and for Switzerland as well.

However, an acceleration of procedures cannot occur at the cost of legal protection. Therefore, legal advice for asylum seekers is essential. This is not a privilege, but a necessity: Asylum seekers are often completely destitute; they do not speak the local language and are not familiar with the legal system. Without legal consultation centers, they would have no support whatsoever. And this even though the highest legal good – the protection of life – is at stake.

The government is obliged to guarantee constitutionally sound procedures. Due to the increased need for legal protection caused by the revision of the asylum law, this task can no longer be delegated to other agencies. Until now, the churches, their relief organizations and other NGOs have been offering legal consultation services to asylum seekers.

Switzerland cannot solve the global refugee situation all by itself. But it can help ease the hardship. Voting yes on the revision of the asylum law means making a pragmatic contribution towards this goal.

The unabridged statement of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches (in German) is available here. The summarized flyer “For Fair and Rapid Asylum Procedures” (in German) can be ordered here.