Update: 19.08.2011

Non-refoulement principle

On this page you will find legal guarantees and other regulations from the Swiss Federal Constitution, the European and international human rights treaties and further documents under international law. This list is not intended to be exhaustive, as regulations from other regional treaties and topically similar safeguarding provisions of international humanitarian law are not included.

Note: Non-refoulement refers to the repatriation of people, generally refugees into war zones and other disaster areas.

Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation of 18 April 1999

(English is not an official language of the Swiss Confederation. This translation is provided for information purposes only and has no legal force.)

Article 25 (Protection against expulsion, extradition and deportation): [...]
(3) No one may be deported to a state in which they face the threat of torture or any other form of cruel or inhuman treatment or punishment.

Swiss Asylum Act

Article 5 (Ban on refoulement): (1) No person may be forced in any way to return to a country where their life, physical integrity or freedom are threatened on any of the grounds stated in Article 3 paragraph 1 or where they would be at risk of being forced to return to such a country.
(2) The ban on refoulement may not be invoked if there are substantial grounds for the assumption that, because the person invoking it has been convicted with full legal effect of a particularly serious felony or misdemeanour, they represent a threat to Switzerland’s security or are to be considered dangerous to the public.

Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Article 3: (1) No State Party shall expel, return ("refouler") or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.
(2) For the purpose of determining whether there are such grounds, the competent authorities shall take into account all relevant considerations including, where applicable, the existence in the State concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights. 

1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees 

Article 33 (Prohibition of expulsion or return ("refoulement")): (1) No Contracting State shall expel or return (" refouler ") a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.
(2) The benefit of the present provision may not, however, be claimed by a refugee whom there are reasonable grounds for regarding as a danger to the security of the country in which he is, or who, having been convicted by a final judgement of a particularly serious crime, constitutes a danger to the community of that country. 


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