Access to the territory and push backs


Country Report: Access to the territory and push backs Last updated: 30/11/20


Swiss Refugee Council Visit Website

During the summer of 2016, there have been reports of persons refused entry and prevented from asking for asylum by the Swiss border guards at the Italian border in Chiasso. Among these, there were also several unaccompanied children. Some of them were stranded in a park near the station of the Italian town of Como before the Italian authorities opened a camp.[1] This temporary camp is closed since 30 October 2018.[2]

Throughout 2018 and 2019, less persons tried to cross the southern border compared to 2016, as illustrated by the number of removals from Switzerland. The vast majority of removals were still recorded at the southern border:

Removals from Switzerland: 2016-2019






Removals from the southern border





Total number removals





Source: Federal Customs Administration, Migration Statistics, 2016, 2017, 2018; 2019.


Despite the much calmer situation in 2019 and the significant decrease in the number of arrivals at the Italo-Swiss borders in general, OSAR was informed in September 2019 of people being pushed back at the border between Como and Chiasso. In these cases, Italian authorities receive minors (but also adults) who have been sent back on the basis of the Italo-Swiss readmission agreement, without proper identification. This is in violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child according to which the best interest of the child should take precedence over any other consideration and should always receive careful assessment.[3]

The situation in the transit zones at the airport also merits particular consideration. Since 2014, admission conditions in the transit for asylum seekers in possession of fake documents are more restrictive. They are admitted after an arrest order not exceeding 24 hours and brought before the Public Prosecutor, who issues an accusation ruling for forgery of a document with a fine,[4] which may constitute in some cases a violation of Article 31 of the Geneva Refugee Convention.[5]


[1] See various press releases of the Swiss Refugee Council, as well as news articles on the topic, available at:

[2] Corriere di Como, ‘Gli ultimi migranti hanno lasciato il campo di via Regina. Il centro è stato chiuso’, 30 October 2018, available (in Italian) at:

[3] Compare chapter “9.6.3 Pushbacks at the border”, in: Swiss Refugee Council OSAR, Reception conditions in Italy – Updated report on the situation of asylum seekers and beneficiaries of protection, in particular Dublin returnees, in Italy, January 2020, available at:

[4] Pursuant to Article 251 Criminal Code: Information provided by Elisa-Asile, 21 January 2019.

[5] Information provided by Elisa-Asile, 21 January 2019.


Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection