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Switzerland to support employment and vocational training in Eritrea

An Eritrean migrant working at a sawmill in Einsiedeln Abbey, Switzerland


Article was translated from French using online software


Ten years after the withdrawal of international aid to Eritrea, Switzerland will test, through the Directorate for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the ability to restart development programs in this country, says a report by the Federal Council adopted at its meeting on November 2, 2016. It is not yet to reopen a cooperation office in this country, but to implement, within the framework of pilot actions a budget (2 millions of francs / year), projects to increase the prospects for local youth in the areas of job creation and vocational training.

The new commitment of the SDC, targeted and limited, is a step made by Switzerland to encourage the start of a real process. It will verify the provision of the Eritrean Government to establish with Switzerland a partnership based on a real dialog aimed in particular to improve the situation of human rights in this country. This is also for the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to test the willingness of Eritrea to create transparent and effective conditions that could pave the way for a larger development program.

The strategy of the Federal Council for Eritrea is primarily based on a balanced partnership offer. First, the Federal Council wants to not only maintain a dialogue, but intensify the nature of this dialogue so that it can accompany a step-by-step improvement process. Specifically, efforts should be made on both sides: the Swiss side through contributions to development, which thus materialize with these targeted projects; and the Eritrean side, through improvements in human rights, taking into account migration issues and economic development.

Switzerland is following the situation in Eritrea permanently and continually re-evaluates its practice of asylum and return, adapting it accordingly. The Secretariat of State for Migration (SEM) wrote in may 2015 a baseline report on Eritrea, and has published an update following a mission in Eritrea in June 2016. Continued discussions with the Eritrean authorities are ongoing and representatives of the Swiss authorities regularly visit the country. Switzerland is also committed to respect for human rights through the instruments of the Council of Human Rights. Is assessing in this area a potential commitment locally with the UN. To give more chances of success in this process, it is important that international action be coordinated as much as possible in Eritrea. This is why the Federal Council has taken the necessary contacts for concerted action with the European countries that share its vision on this issue and whose interests are converging.
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