Conference on Family Unity

Conference on “The Principle of Family Unity for Refugees in Switzerland – Are International Human Rights Standards Applied?”

On Tuesday 21 November 2017, a Conference on the principle of family unity for refugees in Switzerland will take place at the Novotel Bern Expo from 14h00 to 18h00. It is organised by the Swiss Advocacy Centre for Migrants’ Rights (CSDM) and the UNHCR Office for Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Flight, be it from persecution or conflict, often leads to the separation of families. Family reunification is often the only way to ensure a refugee’s right to family life. Although this right is enshrined in several international human rights treaties, there is a tendency in Europe and in Switzerland to restrict it. In Switzerland this is related particularly, but not exclusively, to refugees who have been recognized as Convention refugees but only granted a provisional admission («provisionally admitted refugees»), and refugees who have not been recognized as such and merely granted a provisional admission («provisionally admitted foreigners»). A study on the compatibility of Swiss law and practice undertaken by CSDM with the support of UNHCR brings existing challenges to the fore. The study will be available shortly on the CSDM website. The issue paper “Realising the right to family reunification of refugees in Europe” recently published by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights highlights similar concerns.

The Conference will provide an opportunity to present and discuss the findings of both studies with legal experts and practitioners. In this regard we are very pleased that Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, will attend the whole Conference and address the audience with a keynote speech.

  • Background note, draft agenda and practical details of the Conference are available here.
  • Registration to the Conference here.