Swiss State Secretary: “Georgia is safe, we do not grant asylum”
19 September, 2019
Swiss State Secretary: “Georgia is safe, we do not grant asylum”
2500 Georgians have sought asylum in Switzerland since 2016. Not one request has been granted. Now Switzerland wants Georgia to tackle irregular migration. Since 2018 Georgia has been fifth on the list of countries of origin for asylum applications in Switzerland. It stands on a level with countries like Turkey or Syria. To strengthen the collaboration in tackling these migration attempts, the Swiss State Secretary Mario Gattiker came to Georgia and met the Georgian Minister of Internal Affairs, Vakhtang Gomelauri.

Mr.
Gattiker, what did you tell the Georgian government today?


My message was that as far as we are concerned Georgia is a safe country. There is no political persecution and therefore all the asylum claims which are submitted to the Swiss authorities are unfounded. All the rejected asylum seekers are returned to Georgia. The Georgian government agreed that we have to cooperate closely, especially in the field of returning those seeking asylum.

What are your hopes, how should the Georgian government act now?

The Georgian government is already aware of the problem. Therefore, they have already taken a number of measures. For example, there is some new legislation to prevent the changing of names and new legislation addressing the problem of Georgian citizens abusing visa liberalisation for leaving the country. But we are aware that the problem hasn’t been solved yet.

For what reasons are Georgians seeking asylum in Switzerland?

We have two main groups: one does it as a result of the lack of economic perspectives. Especially young people do not believe that they have a future in Georgia. I must say neither do they have one in Switzerland because of our very restrictive system as you need a job to be integrated. The answer to that problem is to be found in Georgia. The second group consists of medical cases, that is to say people who are looking for medical treatment in Switzerland.

Are there specific health problems people come to Switzerland with?

It seems that the infrastructure and the standard of medical care is good in Georgia. But often people coming to Switzerland have problems in financing treatment. That problem can’t be solved in Switzerland either, but must be solved in Georgia.

By: Valerie Wacker

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