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Switzerland Immigration Detention

From its 2005 adoption of a controversial asylum measure—“one of the strictest pieces of legislation in Europe,” according to UNHCR—to its 2009 referendum banning the construction of minarets on mosques, Switzerland’s reaction to immigration has become increasingly antagonistic in recent years. Swiss detention and deporation practices have been duly impacted by this situation. This Global Detention Project special report provides a first-of-its-kind view of the Swiss immigration detention estate. When compared to detention facilities elsewhere in Europe, some Swiss detention sites—like its Frambois facility, located just outside Geneva—have decidedly good reputations for their humane conditions. On the other hand, many Swiss detention practices and policies have been heavily criticized. These include imposing detention regimes on administrative detainees that can be more punitive than those for criminal detainees; the excessive use of force during deportation proceedings, which has led to several deaths in the past decade; and the routine imposition of criminal sanctions for violations of the federal law on foreigners.

Switzerland Quick Facts

  • Immigration detainees:
    7,540
    Detained minors:
    176
    International migrants:
    2,335,100
    New asylum applications :
    32,359