Switzerland: Educators stand up for children and refugees on World Children’s Day

On the occasion of Word Children’s Day, the Swiss education union, LCH (Dachverband Lehrerinnen und Lehrer Schweiz), has reminded the Swiss government of its duty to accept and protect refugee children and their families.

Refugees arriving in Switzerland must be granted protection and access to education, according to Franziska Peterhans, General Secretary of the Swiss education union, LCH. Peterhans made her point at a public event on Mondayin Bern, Switzerland, “For a Switzerland that protects the rights of children and vulnerable refugees”. There, she was joined by speakers from civil society organisations such as Amnesty International and Collectif R, who urged the government to deal with asylum requests from migrant and forcibly displaced people who arrive in Switzerland.

More than 33,000 people and 200 organisations have signed the Dublin Call, a statement along the same lines, promoted by civil society organisations and LCH, member of Education International. They have requested a meeting with the government to discuss the treatment of refugees by Switzerland.

Disruption of migrants’ lives

These demands have come as a response to the situation where many children are deported from Switzerland in the middle of the school term, oftentimes separated from their families, or having medical or psychological treatment interrupted. This reality starkly conflicts with the guarantees contained in the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The cases in which migrants have been brutally expelled from Switzerland are manifold. One of the convening organisations, Solidarité Tattes, has publicised a case where a five-year-old child was forced out of his home in the middle of the night, together with his handcuffed mother and his six-month-old brother, to be deported to Italy.

Refugee deportation record

Switzerland is the country with the highest rate of deporting refugees. According to the press statement issued on the occasion of the seminar, in 2016, 3,750 people were deported on the basis of the Dublin III Agreement; only 469 people were accepted. More than one-third of all the asylum demands were rejected on the basis of said agreement.

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