Switzerland: UNHCR's serious concerns

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Rupert Colville to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 5 November 2002, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

We are today issuing a press release that includes comments by the High Commissioner and UNHCR's Europe Director on the initiative to alter Switzerland's asylum legislation that is due to be voted on by the Swiss electorate on 24 November.

UNHCR has very serious concerns about this initiative, which if passed would transform Switzerland's asylum system into the most restrictive in the whole of Europe. That aside, we also believe it is impractical, and would most likely cause more problems than it purports to solve. As well as explaining the dangers of the content of the initiative, UNHCR is today also expressing serious concern about the tone of the campaign in support of the initiative.