Switzerland has come under criticism in a key United States human rights report as an example of anti-Muslim discrimination in Europe.
The US State Department’s annual report on Human Rights released in Washington on Thursday cites in its introduction last November’s popular vote in Switzerland to ban the building of minarets. It describes growing European discrimination against Muslims as “ an increasing concern”.
Elsewhere the report mentions bans and restrictions on Muslim head scarves and burkas in France, Germany, and the Netherlands. It says that Muslims in the Netherlands are the victims of frequent minor acts of discrimination, including intimidation, brawls and abusive graffiti.
In its section on Switzerland the report says that the police at times used excessive force “occasionally with impunity”.
“Other human rights problems were lengthy pretrial detention, instances of societal discrimination against Muslims, anti-Semitic incidents, violence against women, trafficking in persons, and discrimination against minorities,” it adds.
The report examines the state of human rights in 194 countries. It levels its strongest criticisms at Belarus, China, Cuba, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Russia, Sudan, Syria and Zimbabwe.
swisinfo.ch and agencies