Switzerland Shuts Down Italy Refugee Camp

Throughout July this year Switzerland had already began to reinforce firm controls on refugees by train from Como–an Italian bordertown. Since then, Switzerland has turned away two thirds of those who tried to enter the country compared to one in seven in June this year.

However starting in early September a city-owned car park in Como will house as many as 300 people temporarily.

The prefect Bruno Corda said in a news conference broadcast on television,

“Asylum seekers will be provided with legal aid on Italy’s asylum process at the camp”.

About 100,000 people, mostly from Africa, have landed on Italian shores this year, and more than 140,000 asylum seekers are already living in the nation’s shelters. In 2014 and 2015, more than 320,000 reached Italy by boat, the majority of whom have moved on to other countries.

Al Jazeera news reported that many migrants do not want to stay in Italy, often because they have relatives or friends already living in other countries. Non-governmental and human rights groups such as Amnesty International have called for clarifications from Switzerland over refugees’ claims that they were denied a chance to speak to border authorities and that requests to seek Swiss asylum went unheeded.

Under European Union law people who arrive in Italy by boat from North Africa must seek asylum there because it is the first European country they reached. Under Europe’s “Dublin System” for handling refugees, migrants can be returned to their first country of registry.

“I’m confident that the people who cannot go to Switzerland will want return to a system of legality,” Corda added.