Statement issued on 19 October 2021

Cases of violence at federal asylum centres: HEKS/EPER welcomes the recommendations of the investigation report

HEKS/EPER supports the recommendations set out in the report by former federal judge Niklaus Oberholzer on safety in Federal Asylum Centres (FACs), designed to prevent incidents of violence and ensure that such incidents can be better looked into. HEKS/EPER further welcomes the creation of an independent complaints office, which strengthens the rights of asylum seekers and enhances the credibility of the procedure.

Commissioned by the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM), the report on the investigation of incidents of violence at federal asylum centres was published in mid-October. The SEM commissioned the outside investigation after several reports surfaced of violent incidents at federal asylum centres.

HEKS/EPER welcomes the investigations subsequently undertaken and the resulting recommendations, which are designed to prevent all forms of violence at FACs and facilitate the best possible elucidation of such incidents. HEKS/EPER specifically supports the recommendation that there be a review of the reporting processes for special incidents and that clearer legal bases are created with respect to coercive measures. These must serve to enhance transparency and the possibility to establish clarity.



An easily accessible and anonymous reporting system for affected persons is also needed. HEKS/EPER is therefore in favour of the pilot project announced by the SEM for the creation of an additional independent complaints a Such a body would reinforce the rights of asylum seekers and render the procedure more credible.

HEKS/EPER continues to champion the rights of asylum seekers in federal asylum centres. Upon learning of violent incidents, legal representatives then discharge a triage function and refer the persons concerned to the appropriate specialized units or to the police. In addition, in cases of specific incidents involving the security services in the asylum regions of Eastern and North-western Switzerland, HEKS/EPER informs the responsible persons at the SEM directly. In the past year too, HEKS/EPER was thus able, in several instances, to help ensure that affected asylum seekers got a hearing.

Samuel Berner
Head of Media and Information Department
Samuel Berner

Phone: +41 44 360 88 25
Mobile: +41 76 461 88 70