Swiss party accused of racist campaigning
Angelique Chrisafis in Paris and agencies
Saturday September 1, 2007
Switzerland's biggest political party has come under fire for racist and xenophobic campaigning after its posters featured black sheep and its proposals to deport immigrants were likened by anti-racism campaigners to Nazi practices.
The nationalist People's party, which controls the lower house of the Swiss parliament, has run an advertising campaign showing three white sheep on a Swiss flag kicking out a black sheep with the caption "For more security".
The party, which controls the justice ministry and is part of Switzerland's coalition, is proposing a scheme to deport immigrant families if their children are convicted of a violent crime, drug offences or benefit fraud. It claims immigrants, which make up 20% of the population, are four times more likely to commit crimes than Swiss nationals.
The party is trying to collect the 100,000 signatures needed to force a referendum on the scheme.
If approved, the law would be the only one of its kind in Europe.
The party is also preparing for October elections, in which it is likely to retain its position as Switzerland's leading party.
Üli Maurer, the party's president, said: "As soon as the first 10 families and their children have been expelled from the country, then things will get better at a stroke."
Ronnie Bernheim, of the Swiss Foundation against Racism and Anti-Semitism, said the proposal was similar to the Nazi practice of Sippenhaft, or kin liability, whereby relatives of criminals were held responsible for their crimes and punished equally.
He said the majority of Switzerland's immigrants were law-abiding. "If you don't treat a complicated issue with the necessary nuance and care, you won't do it justice," he said.
The UN special rapporteur on racism, Doudou Diène, asked the Swiss government for an explanation over the adverts. Earlier this year, Mr Diène published a report criticising the "racist and xenophobic dynamic" in Switzerland and warning that political parties were taking advantage of tensions over national identity.
The Swiss president, Micheline Calmy-Rey, a Social Democrat, called the posters "irresponsible" and liable to incite racial hatred.
The city authority in Geneva, where the UN has its European headquarters, has also protested.
But the People's party's hardline stance on crime and immigration is likely to boost its vote.
From yesterday's Guardian "Recent polls have put the People's party more than three points in front of its closest rival, the Social Democrats, ahead of October's elections for Switzerland's lower house of parliament."
This speaks volumes as to how the people of Switzerland feel about their own government abetted invasion of immigrants into their land and the subsequent crime and violence that "immigrated" with them. The Marxist touted so called "enhancement" of European & other Western countries, through multiculturalism and diversity, is all too frequently anything BUT beneficial to the indigenous peoples. The Swiss People's party is indeed a party of and for the people -it appears like they will be leaders in strong words and actions - saying "Enough is enough"!!!!!