Asylum in the mountains – swissinfo

The Arab Spring has led to a huge increase in asylum applications in Switzerland: 9,800 in the first six months of the year. Switzerland decided to open up a military bunker in the remote Jaunpass, in the Bernese Alps, to take pressure off the four reception centres on the country’s borders. Residents are free to come and go as they please. But many locals seem unhappy with the decision. (SF/
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Turning off African migrants

sriimg20071128_8474336_2a.jpgSwitzerland is funding a bleak anti-migration television campaign in Africa to discourage would-be migrants from trying to seek their fortunes in Europe. The hard-hitting advert, which has been aired on prime-time television in Cameroon and Nigeria, depicts the life of freshly arrived migrants in Europe as one fraught with problems and dangers. In the film an African migrant phones his father from somewhere in Europe in the pouring rain and assures him that all is well while in reality he is living on the street, being chased by the police and having to beg for a living. “Don’t believe everything you hear. Leaving is not always living,” is the final message of the film. The advert is part of a television, radio and poster campaign by the Geneva-based International Organisation for Migration, funded by Switzerland and the European Commission.

Trouble in Myanmar

monk.jpgThe latest troubles in Myanmar have been catching everyone’s attention (at least that of those interested in international news). The Swiss government says it is monitoring the situation and has demanded the immediate release of peaceful protestors and political prisoners. The foreign ministry has also advised citizens against travelling to the southeast Asian country. swissinfo journalist Luigi Jorio has just come back from Myanmar. Read his story “La rivolta delle tuniche rosse” (The revolt of the red tunics – in Italian). Despite decisions to inflict sanctions on Myanmar, Matthias Huber of of the Switzerland-Burma Association warns they will little effect on the military regime.