Projects in Switzerland

Projects and programs aimed at unaccompanied children and youth in Switzerland to promote access to their rights, as presented by the following initiatives:


Project Speak Out! - Giving a voice to young migrants!

During their stay in Switzerland, unaccompanied minors rarely have the opportunity to speak and be heard on difficulties experienced. In 2010 the Swiss Council for Youth Activities (CSAJ) launched the project Speak Out! to enable young migrants to make their voices heard. It consists of workshops that include advocacy, political education and social exchange, such as:

  • Meetings of various Swiss and international actors (young politicians, representatives of the federal government, the police and the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR))
  • Development of a charter and videos describing various aspects of their life in Switzerland
  • Attended the Federal Youth Session and Action 72 Hours

In 2016, the CSAJ launched the "Speak out! undocumented persons" to provide opportunities for undocumented youth to exchange ideas among themselves and to express their needs. This project thus provides a platform to promote the participation of these young people in Switzerland.

For more information, click here.


Project Integration and reintegration of separated children

Initiated in 2012 by the Swiss Foundation of the International Social Service (ISS), the project's main objective is to develop a framework to allow unaccompanied minors to grow up in security, build a relational environment and develop prospects either by returning to their country of origin if possible, or by finding a lasting solution in Switzerland or in a third country.

The mission of ISS is to support the efforts of the cantons in terms of care for unaccompanied children, so that Switzerland can fulfill the requirements of the International Convention of Children's Rights (EBR) and European recommendations matter. The main project activities are:


Report "Illegal detention of migrant children in Switzerland"

An overview of the report by Terre des hommes – aid for children in 2015 presents an overview of the detention of migrant children in Switzerland for reasons related to immigration. The report is based on responses from cantonal authorities and concerns youth aged 15 to 18 years and the Swiss law prohibiting the administrative detention of children under age 15 (Federal Law on Foreigners - LEtr).

The main findings of this report show that:

  • The administrative detention of children is widespread, with 142 juvenile detainees in 2015
  • There is a lack of detailed and comprehensible statistics in the cantons on this topic
  • The implementation of the law is not uniform and varies substantially depending on the canton

Tdh recommends:

  1. A change in Swiss law to prohibit the administrative detention of any child under age 18
  2. The implementation of a monitoring system at the national level and the collection of detailed data at the cantonal level
  3. The implementation of the recommendations of the Committee of Children's rights confirming that children should not be detained for reasons related to their immigration status- The dissemination of best practices as alternatives solutions to detention in all cantons.

To view the report, click here.