Young rejected asylum seekers in Geneva: what form of integration?

According to a 2021 report by the Observatoire romand du droit d'asile et des étrangers and the Coordination, Geneva currently has around 60 young people whose asylum procedure has been rejected by the Swiss authorities.

After years of integration, training and work, their prospects are reduced to nothing. These young people live in Geneva, and most will stay there. However, they lose the right to study and work and become the responsibility of the Canton. Civil society is committed to working with these young people and is calling for a lasting change in policy to open up prospects for their regularisation. Young rejected migrants are not the problem; they are the solution. The documentary Mebrahtu, directed by Béatrice Guelpa, follows the journey of an unaccompanied asylum seeker who has had his asylum application rejected and finds himself forced into exile once again after years of integration in Switzerland.


Thursday 10 March


Espace Pitoëff - Théâtre

Followed by the debate Jeunes requérant·es d’asile débouté·es à Genève : quelle insertion ?.


Co-presented by the Geneva Cantonal Office for the Integration of Foreigners and Coordination


Lucine Miserez President of Coordination

Sophie Durieux-Paillard Consultant, Migrant Health Programme, Geneva University Hospital

Joel Petoud Director of Secondary Education Support II, Department of Education

Bernard Gut Director General of the Cantonal Office for Population and Migration (OCPM)

Laurent Paonessa Former employer of Mebrahtu, protagonist of the documentary

Abel Abraham Young Eritrean refugee

Moderated by

Sophie Malka Coordinator and Editor in Chief of the information platform of the association Vivre Ensemble (

To go further

“Jeunes et débouté∙es à Genève: des vies en suspens“ dans Observatoire roman.

This debat is preceded by the movie:

Films thématiques


By Béatrice Guelpa

Mebrahtu reached Switzerland in 2014, at the age of 17, after a perilous journey from Eritrea. That year, 7,700 unaccompanied minors applied for asylum on Swiss soil, of which 717 saw their request granted. Mebrahtu's wasn't. An incomprehensible decision: a genuine paragon of integration, he had even recently taken up an apprenticeship. What happens to those young people who are sent back from Switzerland? Guelpa followed Mebrahtu into his new exile.

Co-presented with the RTS

  • Section Films thématiques
  • Original language(s) French


Béatrice Guelpa


  • RTS - Radio télévision suisse romande

Rights holder

  • RTS - Radio télévision suisse romande


  • Béatrice Guelpa, Stéphane Saporito, Christian Jaquenod, Briag Bouquot


  • David Punterner, Théo Viroton, Kota Ichihara


  • Catherine Kala, David Nicole
Production country