The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

National Council wants action plan against racism and anti-Semitism

The federal government should work with the cantons to develop a strategy and an action plan against racism. This is what the National Council wants. On Thursday, it clearly approved a motion from its State Policy Committee (SPK-N) with this demand.

If the Council of States also votes in favor of the proposal, the Federal Council will be tasked with strengthening the existing specialist office for combating racism with sufficient resources. The federal government should also have a report on measures against anti-Semitism by the federal government, cantons and municipalities updated in 2020.

The National Council also calls on the Federal Council to examine whether an additional commissioner for combating racism and anti-Semitism should be appointed.

A minority of the SPK-N consisting of SVP members requested the Council to reject the motion. Speaker Andreas Glarner (AG) said that instead of hiring a new commissioner, Switzerland would be better off employing more border guards. What is needed is consistent border surveillance and the deportation of criminals.

Increasing incidents

The SPK-N justified the motion it submitted in November 2023 by stating that incidents of anti-Semitism had increased in Switzerland since the Hamas attacks in Israel and the war in the Middle East. Racism in any form should have no place in a social and democratic society.

At the beginning of February, the Federal Council announced that it supported the motion of the National Council Committee. Following the attack on an orthodox Jew in Zurich last Saturday, Federal Councillor Elisabeth Baume-Schneider once again spoke out in favor of such an action plan.

Specialist unit to be expanded

She told the Council on Thursday that hatred against Jewish fellow human beings, neighbors and friends "strikes at the heart of our society, respect, openness and diversity" and thus endangers the cohesion of the country. "We do not tolerate racism and anti-Semitism". The specialist unit for combating racism will be increased in terms of personnel.

©Keystone/SDA

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