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Published on Jan 29, 2011
Since January 2008, all rejected asylum-seekers in Switzerland are only entitled to receive emergency aid ('Nothilfe'). It is provided by the cantons in different ways. Emergency aid however shouldn't be considered as an assistance, but as an instrument of a policy of deterrence within the framework of 'fighting migration'. The underlying idea is: the more the marginalisation and material deprivation of the illegalised people, the better chance they'll leave Switzerland.
For different reasons however, many rejected asylum-seekers don't leave the country, but defy state control and go into hiding. Others receive emergency aid and live on the fringe of society for years, while being systematically hassled and marginalized by the authorities. The emergency aid barely ensures the survival of the affected people. And most definitely it doesn't guarantee a dignified life.
With the help of three undocumented migrants, our 25-minute film documents what it concretely means to live under the emergency aid regime. The question why those people have come to Switzerland is intentionally blanked out. In our opinion, the question isn't relevant, neither in general nor regarding the discussion of the emergency aid regime.
We thank Solidarité sans frontières for supporting this film.
The autonomous media collective 'a-films' has been documenting migrants' struggles in Switzerland for more than two years. It has published various reports and produced several short films, all of which are available on the group's website: http://a-films.blogspot.com