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Experts of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Ask Switzerland about Data Collection, Training and Awareness-Raising Related to Discrimination

Meeting Summaries

 

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination today concluded its consideration of the combined tenth to twelfth periodic report of Switzerland, during which its Experts raised questions about data collection and statistical information related to discrimination, as well as seeking information about training and awareness-raising in that context.

A Committee Expert, noting that Switzerland did not classify the population in ethnic groups in its statistics - in line with European practice - asked what measures the authorities were aiming to adopt in order to set up a data collection system based on indicators relating to diversity and ethnic origin? Another Committee Expert asked how Switzerland, in the absence of statistical data on ethnicity and race, implemented the article of the Convention on special measures for the advancement of certain ethnic or racial groups or individuals requiring protection? How often were steps taken to raise awareness about racial discrimination and what it looked like? Could the delegation provide information about measures taken to raise awareness about racial discrimination, including professional training for the police?

Responding to these questions and comments, the delegation of Switzerland noted that the European model was not to gather data on ethnic or racial background because there was no internationally recognised nomenclature for that classification. A study had found that over half the Swiss population did not understand how to define race or ethnicity very precisely. It was thus difficult to gather statistics. On the subject of training for police officers, the delegation explained that many tests had to be passed before admission to police training. Police training had been reviewed since Switzerland’s last review by the Committee; it was now two years, not just one. A great deal of emphasis had been put on professional ethics, as well as an emphasis on diversity and how to engage the population.

Nathalie Marti, Deputy Director, Office of International Public Law within the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs and head of the delegation, introducing the report, said that all human beings were entitled to equal respect for their human dignity, regardless of their skin colour, ancestry or national or ethnic origin. In a country that prided itself on its cultural and linguistic plurality, this fundamental right was of particular importance. Switzerland had always respected the principles of equality and non-discrimination. The protection of human rights was enshrined in the Constitution as well as many national laws. Awareness-raising and prevention were the key roles of the Service for Combatting Racism, and it worked closely with cantons, towns and communes to accomplish that.

The delegation of Switzerland consisted of representatives of the Federal Department of the Interior in Bern; the Federal Department of the Interior in Neuchâtel; the Federal Department of Justice and Police in Bern; the Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communication in Bienne; the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs in Bern; the Cantonal Police of Geneva; the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Directors of Public Education, representing the cantons; and the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations Office at Geneva.

Summaries of the public meetings of the Committee can be found here, while webcasts of the public meetings can be found here. The programme of work of the Committee’s one hundred and fifth session and other documents related to the session can be found here.

The Committee will next meet in public on Thursday, 18 November at 3 p.m. to begin its consideration of the initial report of Singapore (CERD/C/SGP/1).

Report

The Committee has before it the combined tenth to twelfth periodic report of Switzerland (CERD/C/CHE/10-12 ).

Introduction of the Report

NATHALIE MARTI, Deputy Director, Office of International Public Law within the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs and head of the delegation, introducing the report, said that all human beings were entitled to equal respect for their human dignity, regardless of their skin colour, ancestry or national or ethnic origin. In a country that prided itself on its cultural and linguistic plurality, this fundamental right was of particular importance. Switzerland had always respected the principles of equality and non-discrimination. The protection of human rights was enshrined in the Constitution as well as many national laws. Providing additional information to the content of the report, she began with the theme of the Convention in domestic law and the institutional and political framework for its implementation. Switzerland followed a system by which the provisions of international law became an integrated part of the Swiss legal order once the country had approved them. According to Switzerland’s Federal Constitution, the cantons exercised all powers not expressly conferred on the Confederation. It was the position of the Federal Council that the current situation in civil law allowed for sufficient protection against racial discrimination.

Turning to information on the implementation of articles of the Criminal Code on racial discrimination and the impact of measures to strengthen protection and guarantee access to appeal, Ms. Marti said that the number and type of cases of racial discrimination brought before the courts had remained stable over time. Most of the cases concerned acts of anti-Semitism, racism against Black people, and xenophobia. In September 2021, both chambers of Parliament had approved the establishment of an independent national human rights institution in accordance with the Paris Principles.

When it came to the role, activities and financial and human resources allocated to the Federal Commission against Racism and the Federal Commission on Migration, Ms. Marti said those two extra-parliamentary commissions were seen as a complement to the federal administration. They were largely independent and did not have the capacity to issue directives. The Federal Commission against Racism played an eminent role in monitoring and supporting victims of racism and discrimination. The Federal Commission on Migration advised the Federal Council on migration issues, and published studies and recommendations on migration policy, among other activities. It was the Service for Combatting Racism, which was represented in the delegation, which had the main role of raising awareness about, and preventing and acting against racism and discrimination.

The COVID-19 pandemic had seen a proliferation of hate speech and conspiracy theories. An increase in the amount of online hate speech had been seen in the past few years. Mitigating measures included a tool to be launched in 2021 to highlight the presence of hate speech on the Internet, and several projects against hate speech were supported by other offices. The Federal Office of Communications would at the end of 2021 publish a report relating to public opinion on online platforms.

On the subject of racial profiling and excessive use of force, as well as specific mechanisms for investigating complaints relating to police violence, Ms. Marti noted that all victims of ill-treatment by police bodies could lodge a criminal complaint. Regarding the situation of national minorities - the Yenish, Sinti/Manush and Roma - the measures taken demonstrated that the Swiss Government was aware of its responsibility and the role it had to play in enabling travelling people to lead a life in keeping with their culture. As for the situation of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, Switzerland had made significant efforts to improve their integration, and the fight against racial discrimination was an integral part of that. There were counselling services available for victims of racial discrimination.

Awareness-raising and prevention were the key roles of the Service for Combatting Racism, and it worked closely with cantons, towns and communes to accomplish that. In conclusion, Ms. Marti underscored that combatting discrimination played a key role in the political agenda of Switzerland. The country’s federalist system meant that the implementation of measures to combat discrimination often took time, but the results were rooted in local realities. Integration and anti-discrimination work had seen remarkable progress. Switzerland’s success was based on close cooperation between all levels of authorities, from the Confederation down to municipalities, and on partnerships with private actors. The joint management of the COVID-19 pandemic had demonstrated the ability to develop flexible, appropriate and locally-based solutions.

Questions from the Committee Experts

BAKARI SIDIKI DIABY, Committee Member and Country Rapporteur for Switzerland, welcomed the delegation and remarked positively on the diversity of a Swiss national sports team, which had won a game yesterday. Noting that Switzerland did not classify the population in ethnic groups in its statistics - in line with European practice - he asked what measures the authorities were aiming to adopt in order to set up a data collection system based on indicators relating to diversity and ethnic origin? The Committee would appreciate more recent statistical data. What measures had been taken to systematise and consolidate data collection related to discrimination, including racial discrimination? What measures had been taken to introduce the definition and motivation of racial discrimination in national legislation? The Committee would also welcome a definition in law of racial discrimination.

As for criminal legislation, how was the application of racist motivation as an aggravating factor or circumstance, applicable to crimes covered under the Criminal Code, translated into practice? How many complaints had been submitted on the grounds of racial discrimination? How often were steps taken to raise awareness about racial discrimination and what it looked like? Regarding the cantonal integration programmes, what measures had been taken to strengthen them and ensure they had resources? Did the Government envisage withdrawing certain reservations to the Convention? The report noted that competent services at the federal administrative level were working to set up a national human rights institution; how would it fit with the national anti-discrimination service? The Committee would also appreciate more information about the resources available to the Federal Commission against Racism and the Federal Commission on Migration. As for consultations with civil society organizations, what steps were being taken to further mobilise them?

STAMATIA STAVRINAKI, Committee Member and member of the Task Force for Switzerland, noted the rise in hate speech targeting certain groups during the COVID-19 pandemic, including online. Did Switzerland envisage coordinated steps to expand the discussion on striking the balance between prohibiting hate speech, and freedom of speech? Did the delegation have more information about review initiatives and how hate speech reports were assessed? Anti-Semitic speech had often been used in public protests; what steps had been taken to stamp out the use of wearing racist clothing or making racist gestures?

On the Criminal Code, could the delegation share data and examples to let the Committee assess to what extent the element of exacerbating circumstances was brought into play? Which steps were taken to assess the level of racially motivated crimes? Could the delegation provide data on compensation measures to victims of racism or discrimination? What steps were being taken to grapple with organizations which abused democratic values?

IBRAHIMA GUISSE, Committee Member and member of the Task Force for Switzerland, asked about education to tackle prejudices. Could the delegation provide information about measures taken for awareness-raising, including professional training for the police? What concrete steps were being taken to eradicate stereotypes about minorities? Switzerland had a diverse population, he noted, and the Committee would welcome more information about policies aiming to open up federal and cantonal institutions to members of minorities, particularly those who had been victims of discrimination. Concrete information about good practices would be welcome. What steps had been taken to ensure that there was access to institutions for victims of discrimination? As for education, there was a call for human rights education to be made a key part of the curriculum. What steps had been taken to teach about the history of people with different ethnicities at the school level? Non-governmental organization reports said there was a lack of understanding of the history and background of the Roma, Yenish, and Sinti people; what steps had been taken to ensure a better understanding thereof?

GUN KUT, Committee Member and Follow-up Rapporteur for Switzerland, noted that the Committee in its last round of concluding observations had asked, among other issues, about racism and xenophobia in politics and the media, and naturalisation. The Committee appreciated Switzerland’s timely submission of its follow-up report. Could the delegation provide practical information about how measures taken had changed the situation since the last report?

Another Committee Expert asked how Switzerland planned to address complaints relating to allegations of rough treatment of minors from the Mahgreb and other areas in centres for young asylum seekers? Had the globalisation of the Black Lives Matter campaign affected the understanding of the routes of racial profiling and discrimination against people of African descent? One Committee Expert asked how Switzerland, in the absence of statistical data on ethnicity and race, implemented the article of the Convention on special measures for the advancement of certain ethnic or racial groups or individuals requiring protection? The Committee had received information that security in asylum centres was provided by private security companies, which had perpetrated violence against specific groups. Had the delegation received reports of systemic violence perpetrated against certain groups at these asylum centres. Had the State conducted proactive monitoring in these asylum centres, and did private security guards at asylum centres receive training on racism?

Responses from the Delegation

In response to questions about statistics, the delegation said that following a revision, it would be possible to gather information that took into consideration discrimination based on hate targeting sexual orientation in addition to the other hate-based motivations covered by that article. The European model was not to gather data on ethnic or racial background because there was no internationally recognised nomenclature for that classification. In response to a question about Afro-descendant organizations, one question had been whether there were statistics about the number of Black people in Switzerland, as well as questions about the number of Romani, Roma and Yenish people. Switzerland did not have that data; a study had found that over half the Swiss population did not understand how to define race or ethnicity very precisely. It was thus difficult to gather statistics.

In response to questions about the law on racial discrimination, the delegation explained that Switzerland did not have a policy at the federal level to tackle discrimination, which was a reflection of the monist tradition of the country. In response to questions about the number of complaints, prosecutions and convictions, the delegation said that information on all judgments and trials was publicly available on the website of the Anti-racism Commission. The Commission regularly presented a compilation of cases in its regular reports. There were no centralised training programmes in Switzerland for judicial personnel; day-long training sessions were available on an optional basis.

In response to questions about contact with civil society, the delegation said more awareness raising was necessary to inform about international bodies. As for the national institute for human rights, a pilot project was called the Swiss Centre for Human Rights. Parliament had now processed a bill by which Switzerland would replace its pilot project with a permanent national human rights institution. The institution would be independent and benefit from financial support from the Confederation. It would have a wide-ranging mandate to promote and protect human rights. Its role would be information and documentation, research and advice, exchanges at the international level, and many other items. But it would not receive individual cases. The institution would be able to define its own activities in the context of its mandate. Its independence would allow it to cooperate with the Government at all levels, as well as with non-governmental organizations and other relevant stakeholders.

In response to a question on matters relating to hate speech and incitement to hatred, particularly online, the delegation said work was being done related to the protection of groups and a proactive approach. The media had two self-regulatory bodies. Only a few cases had been brought related to racial discrimination. Any state regulation related to public communication had to be viewed in the light of freedom of speech. In the case of hate speech, a balance had to be struck between the right of the individual, and shared public interest. Freedom of expression could also be affected by hate speech; 110 cases in the last 10 years had been brought before judges, showing that there was a way to use existing legal means to defend oneself against online racism.

On the subject of training for police officers, the delegation explained that many tests had to be passed before admission to police training. Police training had been reviewed since Switzerland’s last review by the Committee; it was now two years, not just one. It was in the second year that the students put into practice what they had learned in the classroom. The aim was to establish how the police officers were able to implement their training. A great deal of emphasis had been put on professional ethics, as well as an emphasis on diversity and how to engage the population. Beyond matters of professional ethics, there were a lot of partnerships for training, including with a number of African countries, to improve police training.

In response to a question on advisory and counselling centres, the delegation said they existed in all cantons, and they were equipped to provide counsel and advice in the field of racism or discrimination.

In response to a question on awareness-raising about discrimination and racism in educational curricula, the delegation noted that a quarter of pupils in Swiss schools were from immigrant families. The number was higher in major urban centres. Every child in school in Switzerland should have equal opportunities and be harmoniously integrated in the school system. Measures which had been rolled out to that end included two years of kindergarten education before school, giving children the opportunity to develop their languages at home and at school. Education about human rights and tolerance were part of regular classes. Anti-Semitism was dealt with through education on Holocaust memory; tools included web sites. The Roma genocide during World War II had been much overlooked and the next step was the development of educational tools to make sure people knew of the tragedy that the Roma people had experienced.

Follow-up Questions from Committee Experts

BAKARI SIDIKI DIABY, Committee Member and Country Rapporteur for Switzerland, thanked the delegation for the information provided. Could the delegation provide further information about the budget of the national human rights institution? Would it have its own budget item? It was of concern that the new institution would not be able to receive individual and group complaints.

STAMATIA STAVRINAKI, Committee Member and member of the Task Force for Switzerland, asked the delegation to provide figures and numbers about racially motivated crimes and how they were tried and prosecuted.

IBRAHIMA GUISSE, Committee Member and member of the Task Force for Switzerland, thanked the Swiss delegation for the clarity of their responses so far.

GUN KUT, Committee Member and Follow-up Rapporteur for Switzerland, thanked the Swiss delegation for their answers provided to the Committee, as well as his fellow Committee Members for their questions. Were the two years of preschool education compulsory and obligatory, and for whom? For all Swiss children, or only for children of migrants? What space was made for the mother tongue of the child?

Another Committee Expert asked for further information about educational tools being developed about the Roma genocide during World War II, as well as educational topics about travellers and the history of the Roma population. Were Roma civil society and non-governmental organizations or community members involved in the development of that material?

YANDUAN LI, Committee Chairperson, thanked the delegation, the Task Force, and the other members of the Committee for the first part of the dialogue, and informed the delegation that they could continue responding to questions tomorrow, when issues 5-10 would be addressed.

Questions from the Committee Experts

BAKARI SIDIKI DIABY, Committee Member and Country Rapporteur for Switzerland, asked for more information on results of the measures taken to combat racial discrimination against the Yenish, Sinti/Manush and Roma. What criteria were not complied with for the recognition of the Swiss Roma as a national minority and Romani as a non-territorial minority language, and what measures had been taken to protect the Swiss Roma, including the right to live their way of life, their right to their culture and their right to speak their language?

The Committee would also like to have information more generally on the situation regarding people forced into begging.

What were the specific measures adopted to combat discrimination against non-citizens? What measures had been put in place to amend the law on foreigners and integration to guarantee that its application was not discriminatory vis-à-vis non-citizens from third countries, and to ensure that the conditions for obtaining a residency permit, and the conditions for obtaining social aid were properly separated, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic?

What measures had been adopted to ensure life-long training, or ongoing refresher training, concerning domestic violence for civil servants and judges, in order to ensure that those situations were better managed both at the federal and cantonal level? What was the state of the implementation of the Swiss Integration Agenda and other measures aimed at integrating individuals who had migrated, those who had sought asylum, refugees, and others? The Committee would also like to have further information on the application of the revised Federal Law on Swiss Nationality, which had entered into force in 2018. What measures had been taken to ensure access to education in law and in practice, without discrimination, for all children, including unaccompanied minors?

Mr. Diaby welcomed Switzerland’s ratification of the Convention relating to the Status of Stateless People of 1972, but asked the delegation to inform the Committee about the legal regime for ensuring that stateless people’s status was properly managed? Stateless children born in Switzerland did not have the right to acquire Swiss nationality at birth; were there any measures available to prevent stateless people from being deprived of their rights to education and health, and ensure their statelessness was not chronic?

STAMATIA STAVRINAKI, Committee Member and member of the Task Force for Switzerland, asked the delegation about the police and law enforcement bodies. Was racial profiling explicitly forbidden at the federal or cantonal level? Had measures been taken for training in that area? Did the police training curriculum include racial profiling, or was it planned to add it in the future? The Committee considered that racial profiling was a practice which often led to racial discrimination. Regarding the complaints’ mechanism for victims of police violence, could the delegation provide information about how it was ensured that investigations were impartial and thorough?

IBRAHIMA GUISSE, Committee Member and member of the Task Force for Switzerland, asked about discrimination against persons of African descent. What measures were planned to punish proven acts of police violence? The Committee had also heard of a lack of cooperation with the anti-racism entities; what was being done to develop their relationships with representative organizations of minorities? He noted that in the Geneva canton, a number of good practices had been implemented, including a series of meetings between cantonal and municipal authorities and persons of African descent. The Committee applauded those initiatives, hoping they would serve as a model for other cantons. Had intersecting forms of discrimination been seen, and how were they reacted to? What had been the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and of the Black Lives Matter movement?

One Committee Expert noted that a recent study had found that a third of the Swiss population said they felt “disturbed” by people perceived as “different”, with a fifth mentioning Muslims in particular, asking the delegation to elaborate on that study and its findings. Another Committee Expert asked about the new law on nationality: unlike their peers with European Union nationality, non-European Union national children holding legitimation cards were no longer eligible for Swiss citizenship, despite being born and educated in Switzerland. Did the Swiss Government plan to revise the law, in line with its obligations under the Convention? If not, what alternative measures would be taken to address that institutionalised discrimination? One Committee Expert asked the delegation to inform about the situation around people who were begging, with reference to a recent legal case involving a Roma woman.

Responses from the Delegation

In response to questions about the travelling community, the delegation noted that its Action Plan from 2016 had been a guideline for all work at the federal level and with partner organizations. More money had been placed at the disposal of cantons to provide stopping areas for travellers, and social advice services were funded by the Confederation. In the area of education, cantonal projects were supported, as was the creation of pedagogical, educational material. In terms of areas for Roma from abroad, a plan was currently being drafted around that. As for recognition of the Roma, the delegation explained that Swiss Roma enjoyed the same status as the Swiss Yenish and the Swiss Sinti and Manush. In terms of Romani, its recognition as a national minority language in Switzerland was not currently planned. As for the impact of COVID-19, that community had been hard-hit by the pandemic, with stopping areas being shut in early stages of the crisis. The economic situation was also precarious. Nomadic communities could access social support, and an advisory service had also been set up featuring measures, including vouchers for purchasing food for families that needed it.

Turning to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic more broadly, the delegation said that the pandemic had had several disproportionate impacts on protected groups under the Convention. A number of measures had been taken, including efforts to publish and disseminate information on COVID-19 in 25 languages. In addition, vulnerable groups often needed targeted advice. As for vaccination, anybody resident in Switzerland was entitled to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and the costs were shouldered by the State.

In response to questions about non-nationals, the delegation said that the new Citizenship Act which had last been amended in 2018 sought to align integration criteria and linguistic requirements with the Foreign Citizens Act to harmonise the length of stay necessary in Switzerland, and clarify the rules around naturalisation. Third-generation migrants were entitled to fast-track naturalisation. All naturalisation decisions could be appealed to the Supreme Court. As for temporary admissions under the F permit, it did not fall under the Foreign Citizens Act. Switzerland had tried to improve access to jobs. A resident permit application could be lodged once an F permit holder had been in Switzerland for five years. As for residence centres for asylum seekers, a review had been requested in order to improve living conditions in such centres. The former Federal judge who had carried out the review had found that there were no systematic violations of asylum seekers’ rights, nor was there widespread violence committed by the guards. An independent office received complaints from residents of such centres. Police interventions had dropped significantly in such centres recently.

Turning to the situation of stateless children, the delegation said that as of 31 August 2021, there were 720 people in Switzerland recognised as being stateless.

In response to questions about police practices, the delegation said French-speaking Switzerland had a complete ban on racial profiling in police services. The police could not use discriminatory criteria in an arbitrary fashion. A police ombudsman in Geneva had been in service for five years. Members of the public could address that office to have police activity explained to them, or for mediation services. The police services knew they were being monitored, and criminal proceedings could always be brought against police if required. A question had also been asked about algorithmic profiling, which could lead to discrimination.

There was an extensive network of CCTV cameras in Geneva, but there were no algorithms enabling targeted searches using them. The CCTV cameras were monitored by police officers, who took note of incidents. Algorithms were vehicle-centred or focused on specific objects. Turning to the independent complaints’ mechanism, the delegation said the Geneva mechanism allowed for complaints to be lodged by direct victims. Police violence and slippages toward racism were unacceptable. If the police waited for a complaint to be lodged, they would not be doing their jobs, the delegation observed. If the police used constraint or force when they questioned someone, that had to be reported, and all those reports were examined. In just a handful of cases, the police force decided to convey them to the prosecution service due to coercion or force being used inappropriately.

In response to questions on people of African origin, the delegation said that the Service for Combatting Racism was established in 2001, around the time of Durban. It coordinated and raised awareness in communes and cantons regarding combatting racism. Some non-governmental organizations were not connected with each other and worked in their own silos. All organizations receiving funding from the Service were obliged to participate in workshops with other organizations. Black Lives Matter had been a very strong movement in Switzerland, with demonstrations not just in large cities but also in towns. Today, a majority of the Swiss population was aware of the fact that Black people in Switzerland were experiencing discrimination. Ten years ago, the majority of Swiss people would not have accepted that there was discrimination against Black people in Switzerland.

To raise awareness among students about the Holocaust and slavery, the delegation noted that these were key component sof the curriculum targeting all students. Swiss schools aimed to integrate, not assimilate. Obligatory school in Switzerland was divided into two years of preschool, six years of primary school, and three years of secondary school. Preschool gave particular advantage to people from a migrant background, because it let them develop a good background in the schooling language.

Follow-up Questions from Committee Members

BAKARI SIDIKI DIABY, Committee Member and Country Rapporteur for Switzerland, thanked the delegation for the wide range of information provided to the Committee. Could the delegation address the situation of people living under the Jonction bridge in Geneva?

STAMATIA STAVRINAKI, Committee Member and member of the Task Force for Switzerland, asked the delegation for a clarification on the new independent complaint mechanism in shelters or welcome centres.

Follow-up Responses from the Delegation

In response to the question on Roma living under the Jonction bridge in Geneva, the delegation said that the Caritas Association had an inter-community mediation centre. Roma social workers and mediators met there with the Roma community in Geneva to facilitate their access to institutions. There was also the police ombudsman’s office, which in 2018 had acted on a request from Caritas due to a number of the members of the community living under the Jonction bridge complaining about police attitudes. A broad round-table had been organised.

With regard to the question on violence in the asylum seeker centres, a prevention plan was being drafted. It would be broad-ranging and extensive, and the delegation would supply details from the report issued by the former federal judge analysing the situation in those centres.

Follow-up Questions from Committee Members

A Committee Expert asked whether the abolished law against begging would come back in a different format? It was not just a question on policing, but it had a lot of social aspects. What was being done to separate the activities of immigration control and enforcement and provision of services? As for the dwellers under the Jonction bridge, what was being done from a social aspect, not just a policing aspect? Another Committee Expert asked Switzerland to reflect with the Committee on findings that the number of people who had experienced discrimination had increased?

Follow-up Responses from the Delegation

The delegation said the law on begging had been repealed and there had been a review about the political intentions at the time when the law was adopted. The law had punished begging, but it had been problematic to deliver criminal summons to people on the move. If someone was summoned for criminal proceedings, there was access to a number of appeals. If a fine was not paid within three years, the last resort for the authorities was to imprison the person. It was the criminal procedure in Switzerland. Begging often concealed human trafficking; a network of Bulgarian beggars in Lausanne and Geneva had been dismantled in 2021, and five people had been charged with human trafficking.

Addressing a social problem like racial discrimination required establishing the facts in the first place. Racism had not existed in Switzerland a few decades ago, it had not been a media or political topic. Surveys showing that more and more people were reporting about cases of discrimination were in that context a success.

Concluding Remarks

YANDUAN LI, Committee Chairperson, thanked the delegation and the members of the Committee for the dialogue, which had been frank and constructive.

BAKARI SIDIKI DIABY, Committee Member and Country Rapporteur for Switzerland, thanked the Swiss delegation for the truly fruitful dialogue. The Task Force’s questions had aimed at exploring the progress Switzerland had made in implementing the Convention.

NATHALIE MARTI, Deputy Director, Office of International Law within the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs and head of the delegation, thanked the Committee for the open and constructive dialogue. The intense exchange of information had enabled Switzerland to inform about challenges the country still faced. Ensuring a society where people could live in mutual respect was an ongoing process. Swiss authorities were aware of the need for constant efforts.

 

For use of the information media; not an official record.
English and French versions of our releases are different as they are the product of two separate coverage teams that work independently.

 

CERD21.009E