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Lower house of Swiss parliament approves relief for rejected asylum seekers

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(TibetanReview.net, Mar18’23) – The National Council, the lower house of the Swiss parliament, has on Mar 16 passed a motion, mandating extraordinary humanitarian action for asylum seekers, on an initiative first made by the Swiss Parliamentary Support Group for Tibet way back on Mar 16, 2021.

It was previously reported that around 300 Tibetan asylum seekers were stuck in a limbo, without either the coveted B residence permit or the temporary F residence permit, but receiving only emergency aid under old-law asylum procedures.

The bill now has to be passed by the 46-member Council of States, the upper house of the Swiss Parliament, in the same version before it can become law.

The motion was passed in the National Council with a majority of 100 to 81 votes, with 5 abstentions.

It was not clear what specific relief was approved under the motion.

Switzerland began implementing a new asylum procedure from Mar 1, 2019 and the current motion seeks relief for all the rejected asylum applicants who had submitted their applications before Feb 28, 2019.

Over 3,000 people are stuck in Switzerland under the old asylum law and as these people are very well integrated in Switzerland, there is a need to provide them humanitarian solution, Niklaus Gugger, also the current co-president of the Swiss Parliamentary Support Group for Tibet, has said while presenting the motion on Mar 15, 2023.

The same motion was earlier presented by the then National Councillor Marianne Steiff-Feller who was also a co-president of the Swiss Parliamentary Support Group for Tibet.

Gugger has noted that the motion was aimed at specific people including Tibetan victims.

The motion is expected to be taken up by the Council of States at its next meeting, which will be held on the first Monday in Jun 2023.

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