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Anti-racism posters target wide audience

One of 15 posters from the latest campaign by the Federal Commission against Racism.

(FCR)

The Federal Commission against Racism (FCR) has launched a new nationwide anti-racism campaign in five languages during its tenth year in existence.

The campaign is intended to reinforce the fight against discrimination. In addition, the commission has called for a revision of anti-racism legislation.

The posters display quotes from people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds and appear on giant screens in the five largest Swiss train stations, in buses and on billboards and shopping areas.

Launched on Wednesday, the "No exclusion" campaign is "very powerful", according to FCR project leader, Doris Angst.

"We're addressing various situations in which exclusion takes place," she told swissinfo.

The FRC is also calling for a revision of anti-racism legislation to ban racist symbols and organisations with clearly racist goals.

The commission says the law should also address discrimination in the private sphere.

Public awareness

In addition to German, French, Italian and English, parts of the campaign also appear in Romansh, the fourth Swiss national language.

"A really prejudiced person will reject the campaign," admits Angst. "But our aim is to reach a wide audience."

The first such campaign was run in 1997, but Angst says a lot has changed since then.

"The public has taken note of racism."

She adds that the number of "integration delegates" and people who get involved with racism issues is increasing.

"These people are our partners in the cantons," she says but adds that businesses have reacted well too.

Excluding stereotypes

However, creating an anti-racism poster campaign is not without its difficulties.

Last year the "Together against racism and anti-Semitism" campaign drew criticism for using racist clichés and prejudices, even though they were being used ironically.

The FCR is aware of this problem.

"We couldn't risk working directly with stereotypes," says Angst. "That's a very delicate area."

This year the commission went down a different path. "Behind the statements are real people who reject exclusion in a specific area with wit and self-confidence."

A few of the people on the posters are even in the phonebook. Angst doesn't think that is a problem.

"In the last campaign we even featured people's pictures," she said.

swissinfo, Philippe Kropf

Key facts

The Federal Commission against Racism (FCR) deals with racial discrimination and promotes better understanding between persons of different racial backgrounds, colour, national or ethnic origins and religions.
It combats all forms of direct or indirect racial discrimination and pays particular attention to effective prevention.

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In brief

The FCR has launched a new nationwide anti-racism campaign, "No exclusion", in five languages.

The campaign consists of 15 genuine people who could be affected by exclusion because of their ethnicity, skin colour, culture or religion.

The campaign cost SFr155,000 ($120,000) of which the FCR paid SFr110,000.

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