Switzerland admits two Uyghurs for humanitarian reasons

Bern, 03.02.2010 - Today the Federal Council decided to admit for humanitarian reasons two Uyghurs with Chinese citizenship, who have been imprisoned in Guantánamo for years by the USA without being charged with a crime nor condemned. Yesterday the Jura Government declared it was prepared to issue a residence permit for the two Uyghurs. The Federal Council has now instructed the Federal Office for Migration (FOM) to approve the issue of the permits.

On 21 January 2009 the Federal Council declared it would examine how it could contribute to the closing of the US prison camp of Guantánamo, which it had criticized as being against international law. The analysis was assigned to the Federal Department of Justice and Police (FDJP). An interdepartmental work group, which counted also representatives of the Cantons, ascertained that Switzerland could take in three people: an Uzbec and two Uyghurs with Chinese citizenship. There is no evidence that the three might have had or have any contact with terrorist groups. The USA neither charged them with any crime nor condemned them and in 2005 declared they could be taken in by other countries.

After the Canton Geneva declared it was prepared to take in the Uzbec citizen, on 16 December 2009 the Federal Council decided to grant him admission for humanitarian reasons. Following yesterday's ultimate statement of the Canton Jura concerning its willingness to admit the two Uyghurs, in today's meeting the Federal Council decided to take them in too for humanitarian reasons. The two have expressly undertaken to respect the values of the Swiss Constitution and the law in force, to learn the language spoken in their place of residence and to provide for their basic needs as far as possible.

Address for enquiries

Brigitte Hauser-Süess, Information Service FDJP, tel. +41 31 322 18 18


Federal Department of Justice and Police