17 February 2014
The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination today completed its consideration of the combined seventh to ninth periodic reports of Switzerland on its implementation of the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
Presenting the report, Jurg Lindenmann, Deputy Director of the Directorate for International Public Law at the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that living together, in diversity and with mutual respect was in the tradition of Switzerland. Switzerland had a monist legal tradition, meaning that once the State party ratified an international treaty, its provisions became immediately binding for all State bodies. At the beginning of 2014, a four-year programme for integration had been jointly launched by the Federal Office for Migrations and cantons. The Swiss Government was providing continuous support to the Federal Commission against Racism. On the issue of the Roma and Travellers, the delegation explained that nobody should be subject to discrimination because of their lifestyle, while the use of physical force and constraint with regard to expulsions could be used only under very clearly defined conditions.
During the discussion, Committee Experts said the lack of comprehensive federal legislation defining racial discrimination was regretful. It was noted that 23 per cent of the Swiss population of almost eight million were foreigners. Concern was expressed over the recent popular vote on the curbing of mass immigration, the consequences of which were yet to be seen, and the question of compatibility of some popular initiatives with the international law was raised. Questions were also raised about the treatment of Roma, Travellers, Yeniche, people of African descent, asylum seekers, migrant women workers, and the number of racial discrimination and hate speech cases prosecuted in courts.
In concluding remarks, Anastasia Crickley, Country Rapporteur for Switzerland, said the Committee appreciated the delegation’s precise and honest answers but that the issues of media stereotyping and hate speech by politicians had not been directly covered and voiced concerns about the underlying trend of the “democratization of discrimination”. While positive measures made by Switzerland were welcome, an impression persisted that racial discrimination was not being dealt at the same level as gender and other types of discrimination.
Mr. Lindenmann, in concluding remarks, said preserving and re-creating a society in which members could live together with mutual respect was an ongoing process and the authorities were fully aware that it was a sustained effort. The Committee’s expertise and advice was beneficial to Switzerland in its continuation of activities to combat racial discrimination.
The delegation of Switzerland included representatives of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Federal Ministry of the Interior, Federal Ministry of Justice and Police, Police of the Canton of Geneva, Cantonal Bureau for Integration of Foreigners and Prevention of Racism of Vaud and Lausanne, and the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations Office at Geneva.
The next public meeting of the Committee will take place at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, 18 February, when it will hold an informal meeting with States parties.
The combined seventh to ninth periodic report of Switzerland can be read here (CERD/C/CHE/7-9).
Presentation of the Report
JURG LINDENMANN, Deputy Director for International Public Law at the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, said that living together in diversity and with mutual respect was in the tradition of Switzerland. Since the previous consideration of Switzerland at the Committee in 2009, the State party had had an opportunity to discuss the subject matter with a number of regional and international partners, including the Council of Europe, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation’s High Commissariat for National Minorities. Switzerland had also been discussed at the Universal Periodic Review in October 2012. Numerous observations from those interactions had been incorporated in the current report under review.
With regard to the institutional framework and the implementation policy, Mr. Lindenmann said that Switzerland had a monist legal tradition, meaning that once the State party ratified an international treaty, its provisions became immediately binding for all State bodies. In Switzerland, the principle of subsidiarity was developed, with the bottom-up approach, which meant that cantons delegated responsibilities to the Confederation and State activities were closer to the citizens. While it was true that Switzerland did not have comprehensive federal legislation to fight racial discrimination, all levels of government had to respect the provisions of the Convention. Some cantons went over and beyond minimal requirements as requested by the Convention.
At the beginning of 2014, a four-year programme for integration had been jointly launched by the Federal Office for Migration and cantons. All cantons were to put in place advisory services for victims of racial discrimination. Integration was looked at as a task for the entire society, and a process was underway to revise the Federal Law on Foreigners and Integration.
Concerning cases of racial discrimination before the courts, it was stressed that the Swiss Government had been working to raise awareness on that matter and had taken various measures to tackle it. The database managed by the Federal Commission against Racism played a significant role, but it was recognized that data collection could be further improved. The 2012 report on combatting racism had marked the beginning of biannual reporting on efforts in that field. The report, published in three official languages, had presented the situation of particular vulnerable groups, identified weaknesses and suggested areas of improvement.
Regarding the compatibility of popular initiatives put to vote with Swiss international obligations, which had not become any less topical in recent months, proposals put forward by the Swiss Government had not yet received enough political support. The Swiss people had just spoken out against mass immigration, based on which annual quotas should be established within a three-year period. In that timeframe the Swiss Government would consult with European partners with the view of finding a common ground.
The Swiss Government had regularly supported the Federal Commission against Racism, providing it with an annual budget of 200,000 Swiss francs. The Commission observed the media, new and judicial practices, and also followed social and political life.
Mr. Lindenmann said that integration in the labour market was essential for the stability and economic growth of the country. In 2009, a conference had taken place between employers, unions, and local and federal authorities. It had been agreed that the dialogue had to continue and be strengthened on themes of integration and discrimination, particularly at the local and regional levels, where daily integration was effectively taking place.
While fundamental freedom of expression was observed and promoted, an example was given of Dogu Pernicek, who had been recently condemned for denying the Armenian genocide. Members of the Federal Assembly and the Swiss Government had their immunity restricted if they committed acts of racial discrimination. Awareness promotion was also being carried out at all levels of the Army, both the recruits and the staff officers, while a system of sanctions was also in place.
Addressing the issue of the Roma and Travellers, the delegation explained that nobody should be subject to discrimination because of their lifestyle. Travellers living in Switzerland almost all belonged to the ethnic group of Yeniche, some 3,000 of whom were still living a nomadic life style. The sedentary Yeniche were treated as all other Swiss citizens; the Swiss Government was still providing reparations for offences committed against that population in the past. While the nomadic Roma mostly came from France and Italy, Roma who had settled in Switzerland had normally come from the former Yugoslavia, and their number was estimated at 50,000. A number of areas for their caravans had been provided.
On the issue of the ban on covering one’s face in public in the canton of Ticino, which had been approved by voters in September 2013, the delegation said that the prohibition was not particularly aimed at any particular group, but it had particularly affected the Muslim community. The verification procedure of the vote was to take place in 2014, when the Federal Assembly was expected to verify the compatibility of the voted provision with the constitutional and international law.
Nothing in the Law on Asylum restricted the freedom of movement of asylum seekers or their access to public spaces. Fundamental rights of asylum seekers were guaranteed at all times, and earlier misunderstandings in the city of Bremgarten had now been addressed and overcome. The delegation specified that all victims of police abuse and violence could bring their cases to the courts. The use of physical force and constraint with regard to expulsions could be used only under very clearly defined conditions specified in a guidebook. Regarding persons in need of urgent assistance, the Swiss Government had informed that it lay within the primary responsibility of cantons; specific needs of children and adolescents had to be taken into account. Mandatory schooling also applied to undocumented children.
Questions by Experts
The Chairperson said that the presentation had been comprehensive, and provided additional information to that provided in the report. The involvement of non-governmental organizations in the preparation of the report was also commended.
ANASTACIA CRICKLEY, Committee Expert and Country Rapporteur for Switzerland, began by noting that 23 per cent of the Swiss population of almost eight million were foreigners. Swiss federalism took direct account of the bottom-up approach, which provided for a positive perception of citizens’ inclusiveness. The challenge for the Committee was to help the State party identify and re-enforce enhanced implementation of the Convention. The new appointment order for the Federal Commission against Racism, which had emphasized its independence, was commended, but regret was expressed over the lack of increase in the Commission’s financing.
Regarding legislation, it remained unclear what the exact implications of the latest referendum on immigration would be, Ms. Crickley said. Could the delegation shed some light on that subject? On the question of integration, could the State party comment on reports on large numbers of undocumented migrants? Was the State party considering ratifying the International Labour Organization’s Convention on the Protection of Domestic Workers and the Convention on the Rights of All Migrants and Members of Their Families? The lack of comprehensive federal legislation defining racial discrimination was regretful. Political efforts to achieve any such legislation had failed thus far. It was positive that Switzerland was going through a constant debate on federalism. Innovative developments at the federal level would be welcomed.
Concern was expressed that previous Swiss jurisprudence stated that a victim of domestic violence could remain in Switzerland after leaving her husband provided that the violence had reached a certain threshold. Could more information be provided on women migrants or women from minority groups, who were often in doubly vulnerable positions?
Protection against discrimination in the areas of work, rented houses and services was raised. Ms. Crickley also asked for information on the so-called “F” status, which seemed to limit freedom of movement and possibly implied some indirect discrimination. What was meant by “well-integrated foreigners” in the current Law on Citizenship?
Concerning racial profiling at points of entry of people who were visibly different and the Roma who had arrived to the country recently, what measures were being taken to address profiling and police behaviour? How was the police behaviour monitored? How was the issue of stereotyping of the Roma in the media and public perception being dealt with? The Commission against Racism had been given a “C” status. Ms. Crickley urged the State party to consider establishing a unique independent human rights institution in line with the Paris Principles, which would have an “A” status.
Regarding the previous week’s public vote on mass immigration, an Expert commented that while the rights of the Swiss people to have their say in full sovereignty, the “direct democracy”, had to be respected, there were few reasons to welcome its result. It was highly likely that a highly bureaucratic, costly and ineffective system of quotas would have to be established, and it would not be favourable to economic development. The vote could provide an opportunity for the European Union to reflect on the way its policy on free circulation of persons was being applied.
Popular votes were not necessarily the best way of democratic expression and should not always have the final say, another Expert commented, adding that the rise of the extreme right through democratic means, such as popular referenda, had a huge negative impact on the efforts by the United Nations treaty bodies, including the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The wishes of Swiss people, as expressed in referenda, ought to be respected. At the same time, Switzerland was not an island; it was firmly embedded in the international arena, had accepted myriad international standards, and was a major player and arbiter in mediation efforts, an Expert said.
The Expert expressed some sympathy with the Swiss people who had voted in favour of the mass immigration ban. There were competing values at play here, he said: the most democratic expression of popular will versus the adherence to international treaties, including the Convention. Swiss people sometimes needed to be reminded that hate speech was not permissible. What could be done to ensure that minorities living in Switzerland did not feel insecure? Could courts get involved in private cases of discrimination, such as in the area of housing?
An Expert expressed his surprise at a statement by a Geneva official, who had implied that other cantons had not done enough to combat abuse of social aid and conduct labour inspections, which was why the German-speaking cantons had voted in favour of the initiative. In the years to come, many people would suffer as a result of the previous week’s vote. Relations between Switzerland the European Union would go through a time of turbulence, but there had to be hope that a sustained dialogue would allow for reasonable solutions.
The current legislation against racism was deemed as underdeveloped, and concern was also expressed that freedom of expression was perhaps given priority over protection against hate and racist speech.
Concerning illegal immigrants, over 90,000 people were supposed to be living in Switzerland without residency papers, an Expert said, asking what the authorities were doing to resolve the problem. An Expert asked about beggars in Swiss streets. The issue of long-term visas for Experts attending Committee sessions was raised by several Experts. Some Committee members had suffered from lengthy Swiss visa procedures and delays.
Switzerland was commended for acknowledging the Yeniche as an ethnic group and providing provisions for their protection. The survival of the Romanche language was raised with some concern. Efforts should be made to ensure its sustainability. A question was asked on the monitoring of the status of persons of African descent.
What was the status of victims of racial discrimination in the Swiss Criminal Code? How were the complaints against the police processed? Were they considered by the prosecutor’s office or were they brought before the courts? Were there any examples of cases of Swiss citizens who had been prosecuted for racial discrimination?
The Committee held the Federal Government responsible for the implementation of the Convention, regarding the internal system of organization of the State party. The Expert reiterated that there was a need for a federal law to combat racism. While it was frank to admit that there was no political will for such a move, what could be done to address that problem? It was the task of the Federal Government to find a way to overcome such obstacles.
Regarding the freedom of movement of asylum seekers, the Expert asked for clarification on whether asylum seekers had unlimited access to public places in addition to public services. What was expected of private businesses in that regard?
How did the State party interpret mandatory provisions of international law? Was it understood the same way as jus cogens? To which extent did the State party consider norms prohibiting racial discrimination as falling under mandatory international law? Switzerland was asked about its reservations on article 4 of the Convention.
To which degree were cantonal initiatives subject to international law, an Expert inquired. Was the referendum on banning face coverings in Ticino being reviewed on the basis of international or national instruments? There seemed to be a persistent practice of forced marriage in Switzerland, as reported by other committees – would the delegation have any data to offer on that matter?
An Expert noted efforts made by Switzerland to fight racism in sport. He reminded that Switzerland, along with Austria, had hosted the European Football Championship in 2008. Was Switzerland part of the Budapest Convention and was it taking actions against racist and hate speech online?
Teaching on the Holocaust and genocide should be further developed, and children should be taught that extremist political ideologies could have serious repercussions, an Expert recommended.
An Expert asked for information on detained migrants and foreigners to help analyse possible structural discrimination. Was the State party undertaking any activities for the International Year and Decade of People of African Descent? What did it mean to be an indigenous person in the Swiss context, another Expert asked.
The Country Rapporteur how external economic policies lined up with Switzerland’s human right policy and the elimination of racial discrimination.
Response by the Delegation
Regarding the public vote on mass immigration that took place last week, Mr. Lindenmann said that 50.3 per cent of the Swiss population could not be considered xenophobic. Rather, many people were anxious about globalization and modernization processes around them, and wanted to preserve Switzerland as they knew it in the past. In 2013, some 80,000 new people from abroad had come to live in Switzerland, which was the size of Lucerne, the seventh largest Swiss city. People’s concerns had to be taken into consideration.
It was too early to say what would happen next with regard to the migration quotas. Switzerland would need to start a dialogue with the European Union soon. Comments by the Experts regarding the issuance of visas were taken into consideration and would be properly looked at, a delegate added.
In response to the questions regarding domestic violence, especially against migrant women, the delegation explained that if one of the partners was a victim of domestic violence, the level of seriousness arose from jurisprudence. It became serious only from the certain degree, after which rights could be ascertained, and at which point it had to be decided whether marital arrangements could be continued. As of 2009, domestic violence had been included in trainings for social workers dealing with migrants.
On forced marriages in Switzerland, since 2005 specific actions had been taken at the federal level, including an awareness-raising campaign and a number of pilot projects, focusing on particular target groups. Two million Swiss francs had now been assigned for that purpose until 2018. There was a federal legislation in place against forced marriages since 2013, and marriages with foreign minors was not permitted. Switzerland was also supporting international efforts to combat child and enforced marriages.
Switzerland was in the process of ratifying the International Labour Organization’s Convention on Domestic Workers, the delegation informed the Committee.
Criminal complaints launched against police officers were dealt with directly by a public prosecutor’s office. Decisions or rulings could be appealed in front of the cantonal or federal authorities if needed. Particular attention was given to recruitment of police staff, and the emphasis was on psychological testing and police ethics. Training lasted for a full year; in addition, police officers had to undergo some 100 hours of training per year. The police force had an ethics committee which examined all sorts of complaints. The delegation stressed that police violence was a major risk for the institution, and all necessary measures to limit it were taken under the direct supervision of cantonal chiefs of police.
The delegation explained that the fundamental rights of asylum seekers were guaranteed by the Swiss Constitution and their freedom of movement was not restricted. There were no provisions that asylum seekers had to avoid certain neighbourhoods or public spaces. Recently, a decision had been taken that ordinary refugees had to comply with the same requirements as other foreigners in Switzerland in order to receive permanent residence permit. Persons who had made asylum requests in Switzerland could be admitted provisionally if their return to their home country was not possible or not reasonable. The majority of such cases remained in the country for a variety of reasons. People who received an “F” permit could ask for family reunification and the cantonal authorities may grant temporarily admitted persons a work permit Irrespective of the job market and economic situation.
Regarding specific integration measures, single federal payments of 6,000 Swiss francs per person were given to the cantons in order to encourage and support local integration measures. The use of such integration payments was meant exclusively for the particular target groups.
Only a person who had spent 12 years in Switzerland was eligible for naturalization, but that period of time could be reduced to eight years for residents. The Parliament and the Government could not yet agree on that issue, so the exact time requirement was yet to be decided. Among the preconditions for naturalization were respect for public security and order, some language knowledge, and participation in the social and economic life of the country. Cantons, municipalities and communities could decide on their own provisions and requirements for naturalization, but efforts were underway to streamline and accelerate naturalization.
Switzerland had refused general amnesty in cases of people living in the country without residence permits and with false documents. Family links, health and financial circumstances and other factors were all taken into account when deciding on steps forward. All children living in Switzerland were included in public schools, and guaranteed basic education, and quite recently children without documentation had also been allowed to complete apprenticeships after mandatory education.
Switzerland did not have a general anti-discrimination law at the federal level but a general ban on discrimination was provided for by the Constitution. Private law had several provisions which could be invoked in discrimination cases; an example was given of a waitress who had been fined for refusing to serve three persons of African descent. To help the victims of discrimination in their proceedings, a handbook had been published with advice on how to protect oneself and support one’s case. In 2013, several federal offices had asked for a comprehensive study on legal provisions against discrimination in the State party’s legislation and the results of the study were expected in summer 2015. A 2012 report by the Service to Fight Racism summarized efforts to combat racism, and the next report would focus on outcomes of cantonal and municipal activities in that regard.
Since January 2014, all 26 cantons had been implementing four-year cantonal integration programmes, including provisions against discrimination. Inventories in eight areas had been prepared to identify the shortcomings and prepare remedies. Funding stood at 110 million Swiss francs per year for four years, and included, inter alia, areas of education, employability; social integration and training for combatting discrimination. Protection against discrimination had for the first time become an obligatory area. Special attention was given to migrant women. An example was given of the Lausanne programme, which had taken a number of measures, including establishing action weeks against racism. That had allowed for innovative approaches on an annual basis, emphasizing that in the fight against discrimination, each partner had a role to play. Diversity was stressed as a key value of the Swiss society.
The delegation listed problems connected to racial profiling, which were explicitly prohibited in the police code of conduct. At times, so-called “targeted searches” had to take place, but had to comply with strict ethnical, professional criteria, such as having a legitimate focus and aim, without prejudice. Also it had to be made clear to the person searched that it was not an arbitrary measure.
The Yeniche were an indigenous people who had lived within Swiss society for centuries, a delegate said. While the majority had now been settled, some continued a nomadic lifestyle. In 1997, the Yeniche language was recognized as a national language without a territory and the small number of Yeniche children did not make teaching in their language viable. The main issues included establishing areas for their caravans, which could be prevented by popular referenda.
There were between 40,000 and 60,000 Roma in Switzerland. Buildings on public land had to be in line with regulations, and the police were taking weekly actions to ensure the respect of the law; such actions were not racially motivated or discriminatory.
There were legal provisions for beggars to be fined, a delegate said, citing the example of the city of Lausanne, where efforts had been made to limit begging without criminalizing poverty. Beggars were not allowed to use children or approach passers-by. Some police officers had been trained to be mediators between the local authorities and the Roma community passing through Lausanne.
Answering questions on statistics, the delegation informed that there had been 181 complaints of racial discrimination in 2012, and fewer than 30 rulings.
There were no specific disaggregated statistics on the prison population, but some 75 per cent of prisoners were not Swiss citizens. In recent surveys, approximately six per cent of Swiss and 18 per cent of foreigners said they felt they were discriminated against. Tools were being developed to better gauge perceptions and attitudes of the population.
Follow-up Questions by the Experts
An Expert asked whether there were constitutional barriers to having a federal law on racial discrimination. Could more data be provided on how provisions of other laws had thus far been used for redress on racial discrimination? Were there fixed damages or prison penalties as well?
The Country Rapporteur asked why cantonal programmes of integration did not include any provisions on two-way process, and expressed concern that integration was being used to replace the need of anti-discrimination legislation. She added that summer 2015 was too late a deadline to complete the comprehensive federal study on anti-discriminatory legislation. Was the State party giving active consideration to the development of an “A”-status national human rights institution?
An Expert emphasized that violence against women was violence against women, and it was a matter of concern if the State party was making distinction with regard to the level of seriousness.
How did Switzerland ensure that the message of migrant contributions to the Swiss economy was adequately presented and portrayed? How was the reality of the new, emerging Swiss diversity celebrated? Considerable concern was expressed over general conditions for “targeted searches”, which were not specific enough.
Response by the Delegation
The delegation explained that the Constitution prescribed that federal and cantonal authorities had to respect the international law, which made it the law of land in Switzerland. The Federal Assembly had to ensure that cantonal constitutions and their amendments were in line with the accepted international norms. An example was an ongoing federal examination of the Ticino vote on the ban of full face cover. The Federal Assembly also had the right to ensure that popular initiatives did not violate the ius cogens, such as prohibition of genocide, torture and cruel treatment, or violating the fundamental human rights.
The new criminal procedural code adopted in January 2011 harmonized across the country the right to defence and ensured the more widespread rights of victims and their protection. The role of the victims in the proceedings was quite broad; a public prosecutor could commence a case without anyone submitting a formal complaint. It was specified that one could not directly base a complaint against discrimination on the basis of the Constitution. There was no constitutional obstacle for a federal law against racial discrimination.
The delegation said that cantonal programmes for integration did not aim at assimilation. All institutions that provided particular services had to ensure awareness-raising among their own staff, media and the young people. Considerable progress had been achieved on integration and fight against discrimination across the 26 cantons, but more work remained to be done, particularly when it came to the presentation of migrants in the media, a delegate said. The study looking at all the available means to combat discrimination would present its findings only in 2015 as it was very broad, was covering all kinds of discrimination and would include a number of recommendations.
When the Centre of Competence on Human Rights was set up, it had been decided to create it as a five-year pilot project preparing a ground for a political decision on establishing an “A” level institution. The Centre was entirely independent in its stance and in 2015 an evaluation of the Centre would be conducted, based on which the Swiss Government would decide on further steps.
Follow-up Questions by the Experts
An Expert noted that Switzerland used the term “targeted searches” for what actually appeared to be racial profiling. The matter had to be legally regulated and not left to the discretion of the police.
The Roma would continue their travel across Europe regardless of border checks, which was why European countries, both those of origin and destination, had to work together in that regard, an Expert asked, also asking for more information on the freedom of movement of migrants in between cantons across Switzerland?
That the foreigner population of Switzerland was only 23 per cent but foreigners made up 75 per cent of the Swiss prison population was a sign of huge overrepresentation of incarcerated foreigners, an Expert said, asking for information on that in the next report.
Response by the Delegation
Public prosecution in Switzerland was utterly independent in the implementation of the law. If a victim of racial discrimination wanted to appeal against a public prosecutor’s decision, there were procedural guarantees for that.
Concerning freedom of movement, persons with temporary residency permits can under certain conditions travel abroad. Those who wanted to change cantons had to establish households in another place, after which migration offices of two respective cantons would consider and approve the case.
Responsibility of Switzerland with regard to human rights and environment when it came to the country’s foreign trade was tackled at the federal level. Switzerland was working on promoting high standards of human rights and democracy internationally, and making sure that those were implemented by private companies as well, a delegate said.
The Romanche language had its own publications and media, and was supported by the State party. The delegation noted that Serbo-Croat was spoken by more than 300,000 people in Switzerland, which was much more than Romanche.
Persons of African Descent were a symbolic, but important issue for Switzerland. The United Nations General Assembly had not yet agreed on the exact content of the Decade, and Switzerland would actively cooperate with other Member States on defining it.
With regard to tackling racism in sport, the delegation said that sport was a great driver for the integration of migrants and that Swiss sporting associations were working together to promote tolerance on multiple grounds.
Regarding extremists, a delegate said activities perpetrated by neo-Nazi militants in Switzerland had significantly fallen; today, there was an estimated 1,000 neo-Nazi in the country, 200 of whom were considered violent and were under supervision of security services.
The disparity between the percentage of foreigners in prisons and the population at large was a complicated subject and had to be look at in more detail.
ANASTACIA CRICKLEY, Country Rapporteur for Switzerland, said the Committee appreciated the delegation’s precise and honest answers but that the issues of media stereotyping and hate speech by politicians had not been directly covered. The Committee’s concluding observations would tackle the following areas: civil anti-discrimination legislation, integration programmes, data collection and the development of a national human rights institution. Concerns about the underlying trend of the “democratization of discrimination” were reiterated. While positive measures made by Switzerland were welcome, an impression persisted that racial discrimination was not being dealt at the same level as gender and other types of discrimination, Ms. Crickley concluded.
JURG LINDENMANN, Deputy Director of the Directorate for International Public Law at the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, thanked the Committee for an open and constructive dialogue. Preserving and re-creating a society in which members could live together with mutual respect was an ongoing process and the authorities were fully aware that it was a sustained effort. The Committee’s expertise and advice was beneficial to Switzerland in its continuation of activities to combat racial discrimination, and its concluding observations would be transmitted to the Swiss Government.
For use of the information media; not an official record