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Experts slam "biased" integration debate

A government advisory committee has warned against focusing the integration debate exclusively on specific demands and duties of foreigners.

The Federal Commission on Migration Issues said society has also a responsibility, particularly to prevent discrimination and to bring in official intercultural translators and interpreters.

“Integration is often used as the ultimate benchmark to threaten sanctions. Too much importance is given to immigrants speaking an official Swiss language,” said Francis Matthey, president of the commission, on Tuesday.

The panel pointed out that it was equally important to seek to “remove hurdles to integration” to allow foreigners equality with Swiss citizens on the labour market, in society and in everyday life.

The commission reiterated its rejection of a rightwing initiative to expel any convicted criminal foreigner.

“Existing laws are sufficient and the measure cannot be implemented because it goes against international law,” Matthey said.

Parliament will resume discussions on the issue during its regular summer session in June.

Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch


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