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19.04.2005 General News

No More "Aduro" In Switzerland

By Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the Switzerland Embassy, Accra
GHANAIANS seeking asylum in Swtizerland will hardly be considered because there is no political persecution in the country. Officials of the the Swiss Federal Office for Immigration (FOM), who said this, noted that the Federal Office of Migration had accorded Ghana a safe country status and according to officials, any Ghanaian who sought asylum had to prove beyond all reasonable doubt why he or she must be granted such a status. Mr Benjamin Frey, officer in charge of migration and country analysis of the FOM, said this during an interaction with a group of journalists from Ghana and Nigeria who were on an eight-day trip to Switzerland. Nine journalists, five from Ghana and four from Nigeria, were on the trip at the invitation of the Swiss government. Presence Switzerland and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland hosted the journalists. Speaking on the topic: Asylum, International Affairs, Illegal Migration with focus on West Africa, Mr Frey outlined the basis on which the FOM granted asylum to applicants. This include an individual being seriously disadvantaged or having a well founded fear of being exposed to such disadvantages for reasons of religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or on the basis of his or her political opinion. According to Mr Frey, the FOM had accorded Ghana 'safe status', since no such problems persisted in the country. He stressed that applications from Ghanaians seeking asylum in Switzerland over the past decade had been few, with the highest number of 38 having been received in 2002. He said the figure for Nigeria had been quite high, with the highest number of 1,009 received in 2002, but explained that this had reduced to 70 this year. Mr Frey said many applicants assigned various reasons for seeking asylum, including civil war, religious conflicts, and the strict enforcement of the Sharia law and noted that Ghanaian applicants had found it extremely difficult to prove their cases. Mrs Christina Sartorius-Soler, Deputy Head of Asylum Procedure Division 1V of the FOM, also briefed the journalists on their activities. Led by Ms Brigitte Willer of Presence Switzerland, the journalists visited a sewerage treatment plant in Opfikon and were briefed by representatives of the Swiss Federal Institute for Environmental Service and Technology, Dubendorf, on the Swiss sewerage system, the capacity of a municipal sewerage plant, problems and limitations of the system.
They said sewerage systems were expensive to maintain but treating sewerage helped to avoid pollution and ensured double benefits for the community.
These benefits included the production of biogas for power production and the use of the residual matter as fuel.


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