UN body concerned at rise of racist hate speech in Switzerland

Thousands of people took part in a march against racism in Basel last year. Keystone / Georgios Kefalas

The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) has flagged up a rise in racist hate speech over social media channels in Switzerland.

This content was published on December 3, 2021

A country review of Switzerland also highlighted concerns about “the persistence of racial profiling by the police”.

A growing number of online hate speech offences was detected against Yenish, Sinti, Roma, people of African and Asia descent, as well as ethnic or religious hate speech against Jews and Muslims, CERD said on Friday.

It called on the Swiss government to investigate this phenomenon and take action. The UN body also asked the authorities to formulate an action plan that would address undesirable police activities and to “take further legislative measure to prohibit racial profiling”.

Despite these weak spots, CERD praised Switzerland for implementation of the International Convention the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

The Swiss authorities have also noticed a rise in online racist hate speech offences during the Covid-19 pandemic, which has particularly targeted younger people.

To help combat this problem, the Federal Commission against Racism has set up a new platform for reporting racist hate speech on the Internet.

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