A third of Swiss feel ‘disturbed’ by people from other cultures

Several thousand people demonstrate against police violence during a Black Lives Matter (BLM) protest in Geneva in July 2020. Keystone / Salvatore Di Nolfi

A third of the Swiss population say they feel disturbed by people perceived as “different”, with a fifth mentioning Muslims in particular, according to a government study.

This content was published on March 25, 2021 - 10:23

The Federal Statistical Office said on Thursday that tolerance had increased slightly but so had violence against strangers since the previous survey on intercultural coexistence in Switzerland in 2018.

It found that 58% of respondents considered racism an important social problem, down one percentage point, and 64% thought the integration of migrants was working well, nine percentage points higher. Almost 70% were in favour of family reunification, eight percentage points more than in 2018.

A total of 59% of those polled supported the automatic naturalisation of second-generation Swiss, and almost 70% believed that foreigners are necessary for the economy to function.

In addition, a majority (52%) came out in favour of the right of foreigners to participate politically.

In practice, however, experiences of discrimination are on the rise. Since the first study in 2016 the proportion of the population who have experienced discrimination or violence has risen from 27% to 32%.

Most victims cite their nationality as the cause, the statistical office said. Discrimination was most often experienced at work but also occurred in public spaces.

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