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31.08.2016
Lawyer resorts to UN Children's Rights Convention


Readers may remember the case of the Chechen family, actually the mother and two daughters, who twice managed to avoid deportation to Russia earlier this year, but not the third time.
 
Now a lawyer representing them, Martin Jäggi, is resorting to the UN Children’s Rights Convention to try and bring them back.
 
The Chechen family had actually been living in Switzerland for five years until this summer. When it came to the first attempt to deport them, the mother and two daughters kicked up such a fuss at Zurich Airport that the attempt was abandoned. When police called unannounced to deport them again, the family was not at home but in parish accommodation in Kilchberg, where they had been given much support by the local community and provided with church asylum. An online petition was also set up and as many as 3,000 signed it to help the family to stay, but to no avail.
 
In this article in the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper, Jäggi mentioned how so much of the solidarity shown towards the family’s predicament was directed at the children, yet they themselves were never questioned in relation to the procedure to their application to stay.
 
Michael Schneeberger, the deputy head of the Zurich Office of Immigration, confirmed that Jäggi’s application, citing the UN Children’s Rights Convention, had duly been received at its offices.
 
The application actually relates to the three older children of the said family, namely Anvar (15), Markha (nearly 13) and Linda (11), each of whom is seeking a residence permit, with their parents and younger brother, Mansur, able to return later under the right of family members to join them.
 
As mentioned, Jäggi emphasised how the children themselves were never asked throughout this case pertaining to their family’s continued residence in Switzerland “They were treated as if they were just items of their parents’ luggage,” he said as he mentioned how this contravened the UN Children’s Rights Convention which has applied in Switzerland since 1997. This emphasises how children, too, have rights.
 
Resorting this convention is very unusual in Switzerland. It does not actually relate to asylum procedures at all and comes under the responsibility of the Zurich Prosecution Authority. At present the matter is thought to rest with Mario Fehr of the Zurich cantonal government.
 
However, the Zurich Immigration Office disputed the fact Fehr could determine the outcome of this case on his own and is seeking contact with the Swiss Secretariat for Migration in Bern for clarity in the matter. 
 
 


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