The Asylum Proceedings concerning UMA

The asylum proceeding are a lengthy and emotionally exhausting process which can endure many years. Generally the asylum proceedings always undergo the same steps.

The asylum proceeding summarized
As soon as a person hands in an application for asylum at the Swiss border the asylum seeker is registered. He undergoes the first hearing. If no return is necessary he obtains an identity card N which shows that he is in the middle of the asylum proceedings. If he is granted asylum after the second hearing he gets the permit for stay for one year. He can extend it after this year. After 5 to 10 years the refugee can be granted a permanent permit for stay.

Since our target group regards minors, there are several things needing to be taken in account during the asylum proceedings of a minor. They are established in the fundamentals of the rights of the child.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in the Swiss asylum proceedings
In the asylum proceedings the definition of the child (art. 1), the discrimination ban, the paramount well-being of the child, the statement of opinion of the child (art.12), the protection of the child outside the family circle and refugee children have to be taken in consideration in particular.
This means, that generally, the child hast the right to statement of opinion, the right to the collection of facts by trained employees and, if the case, close persons, the right to a person of confidence, the right to the reason of any decision and the right to file a complaint. In addition, it is important that the asylum proceedingshappen as quickly as possible and they need to be treated with priority.

The fundamental principle is the well-being of the child. In any decision or measure the authorities are obliged to act in the child’s interest. Those interests have to be cleared up and then weighed up against each other. Considering this the following factors should be taken into account:

  • Age
  • Maturity
  • Opinion of the child
  • Identity of the child
  • Resources
  • Education
  • Type and scale of the (family) relationships
  • Care
  • Protection and security of the child
  • Situation of dependence and vulnerability
  • Health
  • Grade of integration in relation to the length of stay
  • Chances and risks of a reintegration in the native country

Since we are considering minors, it is also deduced to what extent the asylum seeker is discerning during the first hearing.

In addition, if the personnel data is proven or at least credible, the minority has been confirmed and the files seem to have no doubts, the UMA have to be treated with priority. Thus less difficulties concerning the integration or a possible return are caused.
Concerning the return, it is important to mention that neither in the Swiss legislation nor in the Genevan Convention concerning the refugee status specific measures regarding the return of UMA are recorded. This means that in the problem of a return the UMA are subjected to the same guidelines and laws like the adult asylum seekers. Nevertheless the Federal Council has developed some specific approach for the return of minors.

It is important that these long proceedings are conclusively regulated, so that the refugees have a good Chance to be integrated into our Society.

Much love,



Sources: Manuel Asile et retour, C10 Requérants d’asile mineurs non accompagnés
Handbuch Asyl und Rückkehr, Artikel A2 Die UN-Kinderrechtskonvention (KRK)



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