The number of reported cases of discrimination based on ethnicity, colour and religion has increased by half in 2017 compared to the year before. Better awareness and access to counselling are believed to be behind the rise.
The 27 Counselling Centres for Victims of Racism recorded 301 incidents of discrimination last year compared to 199 in 2016, according to information published in the Le Matin Dimanche, Sonntag Blick and Sonntags Zeitung papers. The authors of the report, which will be released on Monday by humanrights.ch and the Federal Commission against Racism, say that the figures do not mean that discrimination had increased in Swiss society. They attributed the rise to more awareness among those concerned or better access to counselling centres. The authors also cautioned that there is a level of underreporting as these centres do not record all cases of discrimination and, in many cases, victims do not report it themselves.
Xenophobia, in general, was the most frequently reported ground of discrimination (112 cases, compared to 94 in 2016). This was followed by racism (95 cases versus 70), hostility towards Muslims (54 cases versus 31) and anti-Arab prejudice (36 cases versus 17). In terms of actions, exclusion was the one most often cited (in 256 cases), along with mainly unequal treatment (in 36% of cases) and denigration (21%). Insults accounted for 31% of cases and acts of violence were reported in 8% of cases.