Advocacy for asylum seekers and the socially disadvantaged
HEKS/EPER defends equal rights and opportunities and thereby firmly rejects all forms of discrimination. Its work is geared specifically towards enabling all people to claim their legitimate rights and play a part in Switzerland's economic, social, cultural and political life. Central to the activities of HEKS/EPER are asylum seekers and refugees, sans-papiers (undocumented persons) as well as people on low incomes and those facing discrimination. They are all especially vulnerable to abuses of their rights and to social exclusion. HEKS/EPER advocates on behalf of these people and strives to support them in claiming their rights and improving their lot.
Legal advice for asylum seekers and refugees
HEKS/EPER endeavours to secure Switzerland's protection for people who, should they return to their country of origin or to a third country would be in existential danger, whether for medical reasons, owing to violence and war, the absence of a social welfare network or because of deliberate persecution.
With financial support from Cantonal Reformed and Catholic Churches, HEKS/EPER operates seven legal advice offices for asylum seekers and refugees. The legal experts on hand are committed to ensuring an asylum procedure that is fair and in keeping with the rule of law. They therefore guarantee asylum seekers protection of their rights under federal and international law.
For people in need
Ever more people in this country are finding themselves overwhelmed in trying to cope with laws and regulations. Socially underprivileged people are especially affected by this, as the growing complexity of many legal issues poses particular problems for them. Those who are personally unable to claim their own rights need professional assistance. For financial reasons, however, this is generally not possible for the socially underprivileged. They are dependent on free legal advice. HEKS/EPER provides this service for people who are jobless or dependent on social welfare. Legal experts or lawyers help them to understand legal issues and claim their rights independently.
Advice against racism and discrimination
Discrimination based on origin, skin colour, religion, lifestyle or language exists in all spheres of life in our society. HEKS/EPER advocates for people at a disadvantage in society, whether in house hunting, at their workplace, at school or in their dealings with authorities. People are sometimes also unjustly accused of being «racist». HEKS/EPER offers advice to persons and institutions who have questions about protection from discrimination, are affected by racial discrimination or are accused of racial discrimination.
Action on behalf of sans papiers
Sans papiers are people living in Switzerland without official residence status. To secure their livelihood and that of their family in Switzerland and in their country of origin, they are forced to work under legally, economically and socially precarious circumstances. HEKS/EPER strives to ensure that international human rights standards are also valid for sans-papiers (undocumented persons), that their legal rights under domestic laws are respected and that they are protected against discrimination.
Luca da Campo
Socio-political engagement and outreach work
HEKS/EPER is aware that besides project work, lasting change also calls for structural improvements to the general conditions in which people live. HEKS/EPER therefore supplements project work for the benefit of the socially underprivileged with targeted and well-founded socio-political engagement and outreach work. The aim is to bring the concerns of the socially underprivileged to the attention of political, economic and social players with a view to improving their situation. HEKS/EPER closely monitors social policy trends in Switzerland relating to the social and labour market, migration and integration as well as protection from discrimination. HEKS/EPER also participates in networks in order to communicate its concerns more effectively.
Project Canton of Basel-Stadt
Contact point for detainees pending deportation
HEKS/EPER runs a contact point at the administrative detention centre in Basel to provide advice and legal assistance to persons in detention pending deportation.