23 unaccompanied minor asylum seekers arrive in Switzerland from Greece

As part of its support for the Greek authorities in asylum matters, Switzerland has agreed to accept unaccompanied minor asylum-seekers with family living in Switzerland. A plane from Athens landed at Zurich Airport today with 23 children and young people on board.

Switzerland is focusing its support for Greece in terms of asylum on assistance on the ground. The Federal Department of Justice and Police (FDJP) has recently stepped up its efforts by granting an additional CHF 1.1 million in funding for projects run by aid organisations mainly benefitting children and young people living in refugee camps on the Greek islands in the Aegean.

In addition to its assistance on the ground, Switzerland made the offer to Greece in January of this year to accept child asylum seekers with family in Switzerland on the basis of the Dublin III Regulation. The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) has received and approved applications from 23 unaccompanied minor asylum seekers stranded in refugee camps. These 18 boys and 5 girls are between 10 and 17 years old, and originate mostly from Afghanistan (21 children) and the Republic of the Congo (2 children).

SEM worked with the Swiss embassy in Athens and the Greek authorities to organise these transfers and family reunifications. The requirements of the Federal Office of Public Health in respect of the coronavirus epidemic were met in conducting the transfer.

Staggered arrival

The 23 unaccompanied minors who have now arrived in Switzerland will be quarantined for approximately 14 days to avoid the risk of spreading the coronavirus. After this quarantine period, they will be transferred to the federal asylum centre closest to where their family live. Following the usual formalities, the minors will then be entrusted to the cantons who will take responsibility for their welfare and accommodation.

Last modification 16.05.2020

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