Detention of vulnerable applicants

Switzerland

Author

Organisation Suisse d'Aide aux Réfugiés

Article 81(3) FNA contains special rules, which require taking into account the specific needs for specific groups. The specific needs of vulnerable persons, unaccompanied children and families with children must be taken into account in the detention arrangements. The law prohibits the detention of children under 15. In practice vulnerable asylum seekers are hardly ever detained.

Over the recent years, the number of children placed in administrative detention has decreased:







Evolution of detention of children in Switzerland: 2011-2015

 

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

Children detained

176

177

130

131

142

Percentage out of total child applicants

3.24%

2.42%

2.44%

1.94%

1.25%

Unaccompanied children detained

35

52

17

10

12

Percentage out of total unaccompanied child applicants

10.70%

10.72%

4.91%

1.25%

0.44%

Source: Terre des Hommes, Illegal detention of migrant children in Switzerland: a status report, June 2016.

 

The cantonal practice of detention of children varies, and the available data is incomplete. Some cantons claim that they generally do not detain children, others do, and again others do not provide data. More information on the practice in the different cantons can be found in the Terre des Hommes report of June 2016.1

In cases of families, the authorities mostly detain only the father, while the mother and children can stay in the reception centre. However, in some (rare) cases it can also happen that a single parent (or both parents) are detained, while the children are placed in foster care or a home. If a mother of a baby is detained, the baby is usually placed in detention with her.

These practices are very problematic from the point of view of the right to family life and the best interests of the child. OSAR’s view is that children and families should in general not be detained.

  • 1. Terre des Hommes, Illegal detention of migrant children in Switzerland: a status report, June 2016 available at: http://bit.ly/29JTuKl, 24ff.

About AIDA

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is a database managed by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), containing information on asylum procedures, reception conditions, detenti