Middle-Phase Asylum Migration
1986 to 1988
T amil asylum migration into Switzerland reached its lowest levels during the Middle Phase of 1986-1988. Applications for asylum submitted by Tamils for the years 1986 to 1988 were down 40 percent on the preceding three years, and the years 1989 to 1991 saw a 550 percent increase over the Middle Phase. The reasons for this decline in the numbers of Tamils entering Switzerland for the purposes of asylum, and the associated patterns of asylum migration will be discussed in this chapter.
The conflict in Sri Lanka took a number of turns between 1986 and 1988. At first hostilities subsided (early to mid-1986), politicians talked and civilians in the north and east hoped for a better future. Then the politicians handed over responsibility for the solution of the island's problems to the military. At first military action was localised and strategic (mid to late 1986). Tamil rebels fought amongst themselves and the LTTE came out dominant. The Sri Lanka n army believed that the answer lay in taking Jaffna and crushing the militants in the north and east. The planned final putsch (mid 1987) destroyed homes and lives on its way to Jaffna, but was forestalled by the dropping of humanitarian supplies by the Indian Red Cross, supplies which promised in the next delivery, Indian tanks and soldiers. There to create peace out of chaos, the Indians too could see only a military solution and in October 1987 two months of ferocious fighting began. The 'victory', when it came, was pyrrhic, the militants retreated to the jungles to fight