Refugees from war-torn nation who sought asylum in Switzerland use welfare money to go on vacation

Refugees from war-torn nation who sought asylum in Switzerland use welfare money to go on vacation

The headline, which by itself is incredible, tells only half the story. The Swiss newspaper “Basler Zeitung” has the rest, and it’s a doozy.

First some needed background. The country from which these asylum seekers fled is Eritrea, on the horn of Africa, which is currently embroiled in a border war with neighboring Ethiopia. The country to which they are taking refuge is Switzerland, which deemed the risk to life and limb in their homeland grave enough to agree to grant them safe harbor. The European nation even put them on the government dole.

So what are the Eritrean immigrants up to these days? Some 15,000 of them are, as the headline notes, going abroad for a little R&R. But you’ll never guess where they’re jetting off to. The article tells you where they are not going: “Many of them do not fly to Italy, Germany or Sweden, where there are large diaspora communities.” Instead, they are heading back to Eritrea!

It gets better. Under Swiss law, the Eritreans can’t be deported because their nation of origin is considered too dangerous for them to be sent back there.

The cost of the round-trip airfare? The article notes there are no direct flights from Zurich to Eritrea, so the adventure seekers have to fly to and from Istanbul, the cost of which is around 650 Swiss francs, which is just shy of $650.

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles is a freelance writer.


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