Update: 15.01.2008

Election campaign shaped by stereotyping foreigners

The Federal Commission against Racism published a report in December 2007 showing that foreign nationals were negatively depicted in the parliarmentary election campaign of autumn 2007. In particular muslims and foreign youths had been targeted by the rightwing Swiss People's Party. The Commission demands that politicians should henceforth abstain from such discriminating stereotyping. 

Strategy of the People's Party

The Swiss People's Party led an extremely provocative election campaign.They used posters showing three white sheep kicking a black sheep out of Switzerland, videos showing scenes of youth violence and a very controversial computer game. Even the UN Special Rapporteur on Racism criticised the «black sheep poster» which was used by the rightwing party as part of their campaign to expel foreigners (and their families) convicted of crimes. 

«A racist campaign»

The former Federal President Micheline Calmy-Rey was disgusted by these posters, claiming that they would fuel hatred. «It is a racist campaign», she said. Various Swiss human rights organisations took a stand against these posters, even going so far as to bring a lawsuit against the SPP and it's poster. A first decision from the public prosecutor of Canton Zurich declared that it was not a case of racism and stopped the inquiry. In its explanation the decision states that the anti-racism article of the penal law does not include foreigners as such, but only religion, ethnicity and race. This campaign even led to reactions in foreign media, such as the Independent. 

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