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Anti-racism Report finds prejudice over skin colour, religion

Recorded cases of victims seeking advice grew from 87 in 2008 to 239 in 2015.

Recorded cases of victims seeking advice grew from 87 in 2008 to 239 in 2015.

(Keystone)

Most racial discrimination in Switzerland happens in the workplace, according to an annual survey published by the interior ministry.

Of the 239 incidents where victims sought advice from last year, 47% involved the working world - the largest percentage of all settings where racism occurred. The percentage is virtually unchanged from the previous year. In comparison, there were fewer reported incidents of racism in public, but an increase in cases in the private sphere.

“Verbal abuse, degrading treatment and being put at a disadvantage are the most common forms of discrimination,” the Federal Commission against Racism - a government advisory body - said.

As for the motives, anti-foreigner sentiment and racism based on black skin colour are most often quoted in the report.

The authors of the survey also include 53 cases of anti-Muslim sentiment, an increase of 11% compared with 2014.

Examples

The report gives concrete examples of discrimination, notably a case in an unnamed small town where a dark-skinned man was insulted and beaten by police.

Anti-semitism

The European Court of Justice has thrown out a legal complaint by the Geneva-based group fighting perceived anti-Semitismexternal link in Switzerland.

The judges in Strasbourg on Tuesday ruled that a Swiss court was justified in sentencing the group for unlawful violation of privacy of a Geneva professor.

In a preface to a book on the State of Israel and the Jewish religion, the political scientist argued that Israel could not be put on a par with other states in the world since it based its identity on the Jewish faith.

(Source: Swiss News Agency)

Another case highlighted in the report involved pupils insulting a female teacher because of her Muslim faith. The victim tried to receive assistance from school management but felt she was not taken seriously.

One incident involved a local politician who described refugees from Syria and Eritrea as coming from “countries with a low intelligence quotient”.

The reports stresses that the figures do not give a complete overview of all incidents of racial discrimination, partly because not all victims are seeking advice for various possible reasons and because only a select number of reporting offices are included in the report.

The data was collected from 18 advisory offices taking part in the annual survey. The network was set up by the Federal Commission against Racism and humanrights.chexternal link, an information platform of non-governmental organisations to boost human rights in Switzerland in 2005.

The number of recorded cases of victims seeking advice grew from 87 in 2008 to 239 in 2015, while the offices taking part increased from five to 18 in the same period.

Have you experienced any kind of racial discrimination in Switzerland? Tell us your story.

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Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch


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