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PRESS RELEASE: Ecuadorian asylum seeker family wins before the European Court of Human Rights

11 July 2014

The Protestant Social Centre (CSP) and the AIRE Centre welcomed the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg in the case of MPEV and others v. Switzerland.

The Court held that the Swiss authorities had violated the petitioners’ right to respect for their family life. The case commenced on January 1, 2002, when the family filed an application for asylum in Switzerland. The family waited more than 10 years before receiving a final decision of the Federal Administrative Court in Switzerland. The Court decided that the mother and the couple’s child were to be provisionally admitted, but the father was to be expelled back to his country of origin. The daughter, who was two years old when she arrived in Switzerland, was 13 at the time of the decision and fully integrated into the host country. The Strasbourg Court held that it could not expect her to re-install herself in her country of origin and for this reason, that the expulsion decision taken against her father violated the right of this family to respect for their family life. Such an expulsion would in effect, result in the permanent and unjustifiable separation of father and daughter. The European Court also found that the Swiss national authorities had failed in their duty to take the best interests of the child into consideration.

The CSP and the AIRE Centre hopes that this decision will lead the Swiss authorities to ensure better application of Article 8 of the Convention, in particular where non-nationals who hold temporary permits (les permis précaires) in Switzerland, already reside there in a long-term and stable manner.

The CSP conducted these proceedings within the framework of a pilot project aimed at ensuring better protection of the human rights of migrants and asylum seekers in Switzerland, in the course of proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights and before bodies in charge of relevant UN treaties. This pilot project led to the creation of the Swiss Advocacy Centre for Migrants’ Rights (CSDM) on 5th May 2014. 

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