Racism is also a reality in Switzerland
More than half of the Swiss population are xenophobic and two thirds want foreigners to be better integrated, according to a survey published in June 2006 which measures the development of xenophobic and rightwing extremist attitudes. This first type of data, which was not uncontroversial, tends to support observations made by anti-racist institutions, as well as outside observers.
Swiss visit for the Special Rapporteur on Racism
During his visit in January 2006, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Racism, Doudou Diène, has observed that Switzerland suffers from racism, discrimination and xenophobia. After five days of meetings with government ministers, community groups and other parties, Diène said that racism was being 'trivialised', especially in political circles. Swiss political and public debate is marked by a strong preoccupation with the issue of foreigners, their treatment and definition, and policies relating to them, Diène observed. Racist and xenophobic platforms that in the past were the territory of extremist parties are now gradually and profoundly shaping the democratic political programme. "I noted the repeated and strong presence of xenophobia in certain institutions, such as the police," he added. "I have gathered information about the high level of racially-motivated physical and verbal violence directed towards certain groups."
Amnesty International reports
In its Annual Report 2006, the human rights organisation also notes that 'allegations of ill-treatment, use of excessive force and racist abuse by police officers continued'. Deportation of foreign nationals is a focus of concern.
The Federal Commission against Racism (FCR) set up in December 2005 has an online database of court rulings on Switzerland’s anti-racism legislation. The database can be used by experts but also administrative bodies, NGOs or people fighting racism.
Some cantons have taken significant steps to avoid these violations. In June 2006, human rights groups have welcomed, for example, plans by Canton Geneva to set up Switzerland first independent police ethics commission, hence enhancing the single police watchdog existing since a decade.
- UN envoy calls racism a reality in Switzerland
Swissinfo, Januar 14, 2006
- Mission to Switzerland: Preliminary Note (3 February 2006)
by Mr. Doudou Diène, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance
- AI Report 2006 reports about Switzerland
- Xenophobic Swiss want more integration
Swissinfo, June 28, 2006
- Police watchdog gets more bite in Geneva
Swissinfo, June 17, 2006
- Anti-racism decisions go online
Swissinfo, December 13, 2005
For additional information
- Federal Commission against Racism (in German)
Background article on racism on the FDHA website (in German)
- Monitoring misanthropy and rightwing extremist attitudes in Switzerland: an explorative study (pdf, 84 pages)
Sociograph - Study Nr. 1, University of Geneva, December 2005