Asylum seekers in canton Lucerne have been handed leaflets explaining appropriate behaviour towards women, ahead of the carnival season. The move follows a spate of New Year sexual assaults by foreigners in Germany.
The cantonal authorities have printed around 4,000 of the flyers, each bearing 29 pictures highlighting dos and don’ts. People who have recently arrived from foreign countries are informed that same sex partnerships are allowed in Switzerland, but that unwanted physical contact towards women is outlawed.
The leaflet also states that sexual contact with children under the age of 16 is also against the law.
The city of Lucerne hosts one of the country’s largest carnival – or Fasnacht – events each year. The cantonal authorities said the leaflets were inspired by similar schemes in Germany and Austria and accompanied other measures to educate asylum seekers in Swiss laws and social behavior.
Initially printed only in German, there are plans to translate the accompanying text to each illustration in other languages.
The unwelcome phenomenon of group sexual assaults on women during public events was witnessed in Cologne and other German cities at the start of the year and also in other countries, such as Sweden. Several women in Zurich also reported being molested by groups of foreigners and robbed whilst out celebrating the New Year.
The Fasnacht season is played out all over Switzerland in February and March each year, often involving elaborate costumes and bands. Basel is seen as the largest single event, involving up to 20,000 participants. The carnival will be staged in Lucerneexternal link between February 4th and 9th.
swissinfo.ch and agencies