Big jump in SL asylum seekers in Switzerland


Several hundred Lankan Tamils demonstrated against the deportations in 2011 in front of the parliament building in Bern (File Photo Courtesy of

The number of requests for asylum by Lankan refugees in Switzerland rose by 87 per cent in 2014 from the previous year taking Sri Lanka to the third place in the list of nations seeking refuge in the Central European country, according to a news report published by The Local (TL), an English-language news network in Europe yesterday quoting Swiss government reports.

Request for asylum by refugees from Sri Lanka last year was 1,277, an 87 per cent increase compared to 2013, the TL story said.

The number of requests for asylum by refugees in Switzerland rose in 2014 by 11 per cent to 23,765 from the previous year, the highest rate in more than a decade, it said. "The increase was the result of numerous crisis and conflict zones around the Mediterranean and in Africa, the state secretariat for migration (SFM) said in a release issued on Thursday. As a result the number of asylum seekers grew across Europe, with the requests made in Switzerland accounting for four per cent of the total, the SFM (formerly known as the federal office of migration) said.

"Europe-wide the total increase by 35 per cent to around 600,000 from 444,000 in 2013, the SFM said. The number of refugee arrivals in southern Europe was particularly high last year, with 170,000 people landing in southern Italy alone, the secretariat said.

"This influx has had repercussions across the continent, including Switzerland, which has not seen as many asylum seekers since the 1990s, it said.

People from the North African country of Eritrea made the largest number of asylum requests — 6,923, up 170 per cent from the previous year.

"The demand from Eritreans peaked at around 1,000 a month during the summer before tailing off later in the year with the overall increase directly linked to the wave of refugees coming ashore in southern Italy, the SFM said.

"Refugees from Syria (3,819, up 101 per cent) accounted for the next largest group, as people fled a civil war in that country.

"Those from Sri Lanka (1,277, up 87 per cent) made up the third largest group.

Las year Swiss authorities treated 26,715 requests for asylum in the first instance, up 12 per cent from 2013, while granting asylum to 6,199 refugees (up 96 per cent)."

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