Update: 29.03.2007

Definitive report on racism in Switzerland by UN expert

The Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Mr. Doudou Diène, submitted his definitive report on the situation in Switzerland to the Human Rights Council in Geneva. The Senegalese expert, who visited Switzerland from 9 to 13 January 2006 to assess the situation and the measures adopted by the Government, noted that there is no coherent and resolute political and legal strategy against racism and xenophobia at national level. Deep rooted cultural resistance within Swiss society against the multiculturalisation process and the growing prevalence of racist and xenophobic stance in political programmes and discourses contribute to a certain «dynamic of racism and xenophobia in Switzerland».


Besides recognition by the authorities of this dynamic - and the expression of the political will to combat this phenomenon –Doudou Diène recommends in his report «a national programme of action against racism and xenophobia comprising national legislation for this purpose». A cultural and ethical strategy would allow «the long-term construction of a multicultural society based on both the recognition and the promotion of the cultural, ethnic and religious diversity of society».

Swiss official reaction

In its meeting of 16 March 2007, the Federal Council has taken note of the report on Switzerland by the UN Special Rapporteur on racism. In its reply, the Federal Council notes that racism unfortunately is present in Switzerland. However, the Federal Council points out that it was not correct to use individual incidents which the Council deplores, to draw conclusions about the general dynamism of racism and xenophobia in the country as a whole. The high proportion of foreign citizens in the country as well as the generally unproblematic integration of the resident foreign population underlined Switzerland's openness.

The Federal Council said it takes seriously the issues raised and the proposals made by Mr Diène and will continue to intensify its efforts against racism and discrimination in various ways, including the dialogue with UN bodies.

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