16.06.2016 - News

Illegal detention of migrant children in Switzerland: a status report.

Read the full report:

Illegal detention of migrant children in Switzerland: a status report.

Read the full report:

“Children in the context of migration, whether accompanied, separated or unaccompanied should never be remanded in custody. Migratory status should not be considered as an offence and should not justify the detention of children as such.”

Jean Zermatten, Founder and former director of the International Institute for the Rights of the Child (IDE) and former President of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

At the occasion of the seminar called “Promoting alternatives to the immigration detention of children in Switzerland”, Terre des hommes presents its recent report on Illegal detention of migrant children in Switzerland.

The international community has become increasingly concerned about the need to end the detention of children. However, in Switzerland as in many other countries there is not enough available information to permit an accurate analysis of the problem.

In order to address the lack of information on the administrative detention of children in Switzerland, Terre des hommes in mid-2015 assessed the situation of non-citizen children in Switzerland who are placed in detention for reasons related to their immigration status. It resulted in a clear lack of transparency. We don’t exactly know where children are detained. Of all the cantons questioned, only eight responded with complete answers. Six of them did not answer at all. The full report is available in three languages.

The seminar called “Promoting alternatives to the immigration detention of children in Switzerland” takes place on June 16th in Bern. Will be present:

  • Ms Doris Fiala, General Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Campaign “End immigration detention of children”;
  • Mr Vito Angelillo, General Director, Terre des hommes;
  • Mr Albrecht Dieffenbacher, Chief Legal Office, State Secretariat for Migration, Switzerland;
  • Ms Sandra Imhof, Head of Secretariat, National Commission for the prevention of torture, Switzerland;

And representatives from UNHCR, Amnesty International, OSAR, International Detention Coalition.

Terre des hommes wishes to thank the Global Detention Project for their help in the research, and the Cantonal authorities and the State Secretariat for Migration for their precious contribution. 

Photo credit: © Tdh / Ollivier Girard