Swiss vote in favor of tougher asylum law

AFP-JIJI

The Swiss voted overwhelmingly Sunday in favor of a government move to tighten the country’s asylum law amid a spike in refugees, in what opponents of the changes decried as a “disaster.”

One of the most controversial revisions was the removal of military desertion as a valid reason for asylum. That has been the key reason cited by Eritreans, who accounted for most applications to Switzerland last year and whose country imposes unlimited military service on all able-bodied men and women.

The revision also removed the possibility, which had been unique in Europe, to apply for asylum from Swiss embassies — a change opponents described as “inhumane,” since it means people unable to make the often dangerous journey from their country to Switzerland will remain without help.