Federal Councillor Keller-Sutter on working visit to Nigeria: Ten years of successful migration partnership
Bern, 23.03.2021 - Switzerland and Nigeria marked the tenth anniversary of their migration partnership on Tuesday, 23 March. At an event in the Nigerian capital Abuja, Ms Karin Keller-Sutter and Bashir Nura Alkali, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, underlined the success of their two countries’ cooperation on migration to date and discussed future projects. Migration partnerships are a core element of Switzerland's foreign migration policy.
With around 200 million inhabitants, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa. It plays a central role in migration as a country of origin, transit and destination. Nigeria was the first African country with which Switzerland entered into a migration partnership. The two countries have been holding regular migration dialogues since 2011 to discuss the diverse challenges in this area and to take appropriate joint measures.
The working visit to Nigeria by Karin Keller-Suter, head of the Federal Department of Justice and Police (FDJP), provided an opportunity to take stock after ten years of migration partnership. In Abuja, Ms Keller-Sutter and representatives of the Nigerian government and various non governmental and international organisations, commended the successes achieved.
Decline in asylum applications and effective cooperation on returns
The migration partnership was concluded in 2011 in a challenging context. In 2010, Nigeria was the main country of origin for asylum applications in Switzerland and cooperation in the area of return was practically blocked. Since then, the number of asylum applications has declined significantly, down to 172 in 2020, when Nigeria ranked twelfth among the principle countries of origin of persons seeking asylum in Switzerland. Operational cooperation on returns has also improved continuously and can now be described as excellent, so that special flights can still take place despite difficult conditions in connection with the corona pandemic.
Combating human trafficking
Within the framework of the migration partnership more than 50 projects have been implemented by various administrative units in the FDJP and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). The projects themes are defined in the annual migration discussions and reflect the interests of both parties. Initially, cooperation focused on combating drug trafficking and developing the capacities of the Nigerian immigration authorities, while today the focus is increasingly on projects to combat human trafficking and innovative approaches in reintegrating returnees.
During the working visit, Federal Councillor Keller Sutter opened a travelling exhibition that aims to raise awareness in Nigeria about the dangers of human trafficking. Ms Keller-Sutter emphasised the importance of effective police cooperation in order to dismantle human trafficking networks and provide the best possible protection for victims. The exhibition is organised by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and is being held as part of the migration partnership. Human trafficking is a serious problem in Nigeria, with many victims being forced into prostitution in Europe.
Address for enquiries
FDJP Communication Service, T +41 58 462 18 18, firstname.lastname@example.org