Travellers of Switzerland still suffer from discrimination
The Swiss government released on October 18, 2006 a report about the situation of travelling people in Switzerland. This report is divided in two parts: the first one focuses about the consequences of a possible ratification by Switzerland of the ILO Convention 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries – the Federal Council decided it was not justifiable at the moment. NGOs strongly criticized this position, arguing that Switzerland exaggerates the legal and financial implications related to the ratification of ILO 169, weakens its diplomatic and moral influence and neglects the precarious situation of the Swiss Travellers.
Lack of stopover areas
Travellers in Switzerland say they are still suffering from widespread discrimination despite legal rulings that the authorities put an end to it. Together with the Federal Commission against Racism (FCR), the Foundation for Assuring the Future of Swiss Travellers - a body within the interior ministry that helps to improve the lives of the travelling community - have called on the government to implement an action plan to end discrimination faced by up to 5,000 travellers of the 30,000 gypsy community. In particular, they are concerned by the lack of camping facilities and transit areas for the Travellers, who are regularly obliged to occupy land illegally. In the second part of the government report, which exposes possible governmental actions related to new stopping and transit areas, the Federal Council admits that there is a shortfall of 29 campsites and 38 transit sites today in Switzerland. The groups want quick decisions on options such as access to army land, now up for sale.
According to the FCR president Kreis, the authorities recognised there was a problem, but weren't prepared to do enough to solve it. He added that the government refused to put pressure on the cantons to find solutions.
- Swiss gypsies demand end to discrimination
Swissinfo, 2 November 2006
For more information
- Swiss action for indigenous peoples (pdf, 36 pages)
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), not dated (no longer available online)
- Federal Commission against Racism
(Website in German)
- Documentation about vagrant people (in French only)