Enhanced Migration Partnership between Switzerland and Nigeria

Press Release, SEM, 07.11.2012

Bern. On 6 November 2012, Martin Uhomoibhi, Secretary of State for the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, received a Swiss delegation headed by Mario Gattiker, director of the Federal Office for Migration, and Claude Wild, head of Human Security of EDA for talks on migration, in Abuja. This was the third meeting within the scope of the migration partnership between Switzerland and Nigeria since its establishment in February 2011. The discussions highlighted the development of the partnership and the progress of the various projects.

Since the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on 14 February 2011, Switzerland and Nigeria have intensified their cooperation on migration issues, within the framework of a balanced partnership. In the process, the interests of both parties as well as the opportunities and challenges of migration are taken into account. The third meeting of the Technical Committee, which was held yesterday in Abuja, allowed an open and frank exchange of views on existing and upcoming issues, as well as on current projects and their development.

The migration partnership should promote the development of innovative projects. Thus, Switzerland is currently setting up a project enabling Nigerian expatriates in Switzerland to teach young people in Nigeria, for example, in the field of automotive engineering. Thanks to a pilot project on police cooperation, launched in 2011, several Nigerian police have visited Switzerland to enhance operational co-operation with selected cantonal authorities in the fight against drug trafficking. Additional activities such as the capacity-building of the Nigerian immigration authorities, the support for Nigeria in the implementation of a protection policy for internally displaced persons, or for cooperation in the multilateral dialogue on migration and development are also taking place.

Both parties are furthermore pleased to note that 90% of Nigerian citizens, who had to return to their home country in 2012, did so independently. The majority of these people took advantage of the return assistance offered by Switzerland. This clearly shows that both parties place high priority on voluntary return. In this context, the issue of irregular migrants, and people who had submitted an obviously unfounded asylum application was addressed. The two parties have agreed to form a working group to examine this issue and develop solutions together. An involvement of the competent authorities of both countries is also planned.

The fourth meeting of the Technical Committee will take place in summer 2013, in Bern.

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