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Project news: First expert meeting on asylum in the framework of the ICMPD Annual Policy Initiative 2020

12 May 2020

Covid-19 measures implemented in a reception centre in Switzerland


ICMPD, in collaboration with the Swiss Government, has organised the first expert meeting in the framework of its Annual Policy Initiative 2020. Switzerland, as the chair of ICMPD’s Steering Group in 2020, has dedicated its chairmanship to the topic “Safeguarding human and public security in the new migration agenda” and ICMPD is running the Annual Policy Initiative 2020 under the same heading.

The expert meeting was the first in a series aimed at delving into discussions on different aspects of the increasingly complex relationship between migration and security from a policy maker’s perspective, including border management, integration and security along migration routes.

Particularly, this meeting focused on safeguards in the area of asylum. The discussion consisted of two sessions. First, Mr Martin Wagner (Senior Policy Advisor Asylum, ICMPD) presented ICMPD’s recent study on the impact of the appeals procedure and the provision of legal assistance on the efficiency of asylum systems. The presentation drew on promising examples from countries that sought ways of increasing the efficiency of asylum systems while, at the same time, safeguarding the procedural rights of applicants. Shortening the asylum procedures, combining different procedural actors at designated reception or processing centres, information exchange between first and appeals instances or offering free legal assistance beyond the appeals procedure were but some of the examples the participants shared.

The second part of the meeting addressed the complex relation between human and state security in asylum procedures. Mr Pascal Schwarz (Head of Section Dublin and Return, Federal Asylum Center Zurich, State Secretariat for Migration, SEM) shared the Swiss experience in different aspects of reception, accelerated procedure and the impact during COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. He reflected on the various trade-offs when planning and organising new reception facilities balancing the need for reception places and taking public concerns duly into account. He also shared Switzerland’s experiences with accelerated asylum procedures and the necessary adaptations to procedures and reception in Covid times.

About the project

ICMPD is dedicating its Annual Policy Initiative 2020 to the issue of human and public security. The overall purpose of the API is to contribute to an analysis of the migration-security nexus, to further stimulate policy and strategic discussions and to propose policy recommendations for post-crisis migration governance.

More information on API can be found here.