Monday, 8 February 2010

Support for Swiss move to regularise children

From a Swiss news website:

Political support is growing to improve the plight of thousands of children of illegal immigrants who have spent most of their lives in Switzerland.

An estimated 10-30,000 young “sans papiers” live in Switzerland without legal status. They can attend the state school system, but as a rule only until 16 - the end of compulsory schooling. Professional training and apprenticeships are out of reach.

“It really is a ticking social time bomb,” Green Party parliamentarian Antonio Hodgers told“We let these young people finish their [compulsory] schooling but give them no training prospects or access to a job even if they grow up here.”

At the end of last year Hodgers filed a motion at the House of Representatives pushing for young sans papiers to have access to professional training and for those born in Switzerland to be legally recognised.

His proposal, which has cross-party support, urges the government to apply the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child to the children of illegal immigrants. Switzerland ratified the pact in 1997.

“I invite the government to read Article 2 of the convention, which states that children should not be victims of the legal status of their parents,” he said.“Someone who decides to live illegally in a country knows that it’s going to be tough, but that’s their choice which they have to assume. “But a child hasn’t made that choice; they just followed their parents, so they shouldn’t be punished for their parents’ decision.”

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