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Switzerland steps up efforts to tackle right-wing extremism

The Swiss authorities want to determine the causes of right-wing extremism Keystone Archive

The government has earmarked additional funds to tackle what it says is the growing threat of right-wing extremism. A key pillar of its strategy is to research the causes and origins of the phenomenon.

The interior ministry said on Friday that it would spend SFr4 million on the study, which will focus on five major themes: interaction between right-wing extremism and society, societal evolution and modernisation, gender and social status.

The announcement comes amid concerns of a record rise in the number of right-wing extremist incidents last year.

A spokesman for the Swiss Service for analysis and prevention, Urs von Daeniken, said recently that the number of extremists active in Switzerland was increasing, and that there had been a three-fold rise in right-wing incidents in 2000. He added that 40 incidents had involved acts of violence.

Daeniken also stressed the need to prevent extremists from forming a coherent political movement. “We must take steps to prevent the neo-Nazi movement from constituting itself into a vote-winning party,” he said.

The research will be conducted by the Swiss National Science Foundation, which says there is a proven need to study the origins of right-wing extremism since too little is known about the subject.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR