COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION
OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES
UNDER ARTICLE 9 OF THE CONVENTION
Concluding observations of the Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination
1. The Committee considered
the initial report of Switzerland (CERD/C/270/Add.1) at its 1248th and
1249th meetings held on 3 and 4 March 1998 and at its 1268th meeting,
held on 17 March 1998, adopted the following concluding observations.
2. The Committee welcomes
the initial report submitted by Switzerland and the comprehensive introductive
presentation made by the delegation as well as the opportunity thus
offered to begin its dialogue with the State party. It expresses to
the State party satisfaction regarding the quality of the report although
it regrets that it was not submitted by the due date.
B. Positive aspects
3. It is noted with appreciation
that the State party has established a Federal Commission against Racism
to promote better understanding between persons of different races,
colours, and ethnic or religious origins and to combat all forms of
direct or indirect racial discrimination. The Committee welcomes the
initiatives taken by this Commission in the sphere of education and
4. The adoption of article
261 bis of the Swiss Criminal Code, which is intended to give
effect to articles 4 and 5 (f) of the Convention, is welcomed.
C. Principal subjects of concern
5 While the Committee takes
note of the draft reforms of the Federal Constitution, it expresses
its concern about the lack of comprehensive legislation to combat discrimination
based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin. Such legislation
should include measures to combat racial discrimination in labour relations
and housing and, more generally, racial discrimination by any person,
group or organization as required by article 2, paragraph 1 (d), of
6. While noting that the
current Swiss immigration policy may be subject to revision, the Committee
expresses its disquiet at the current so-called three-circle-model immigration
policy which classifies foreigners on the basis of their national origin.
The Committee considers the conception and effect of this policy to
be stigmatizing and discriminatory, and therefore contrary to the principles
and provisions of the Convention. Other areas of special concern are
the extensive system of police control of foreigners as well as the
naturalization policies and procedures, which are deemed too protracted
and selective. Concern is also expressed about serious incidents of
police brutality in dealings with persons of foreign ethnic or national
7. The restrictions on freedom
of movement imposed on the Jenish population and on the Sinti and Roma
minorities, as well as tendencies to discredit them, are matters of
8. Incidents of xenophobia,
anti-Semitism, racial discrimination and racial violence occurring in
the State party as well as the dissemination of racist and xenophobic
ideas also occasion concern. Moreover, article 4 (b) of the Convention
is not fully implemented, notably as regards participation in illegal
and prohibited organizations.
D. Suggestions and recommendations
9. The Committee recommends
that the envisaged constitutional reform in the State party more fully
reflect the provisions of the Convention. Such reform should entail
a clear repudiation of racial discrimination.
10. The State party should
give serious consideration to the enactment of a comprehensive law banning
discrimination based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic
origin. Other preventive measures, such as information campaigns, educational
programmes and more intensive training programmes for law enforcement
officials, in accordance with article 7 of the Convention and General
Recommendation XIII of the Committee, will strengthen the implementation
of the Convention.
11. The Committee urges
the State party to review those elements of its current immigration
policy which classify foreigners on the basis of their national origin,
and recommends that it reconsider the reservation made to article 2,
paragraph 1 (a), of the Convention.
12. In light of article
3 of the Convention and General Recommendation XIX, the Committee encourages
the State party to monitor all tensions which may give rise to racial
segregation and to work for the eradication of any negative consequences
13. The Committee recommends
that the State party take the necessary steps to implement article 4
(b) of the Convention. The Committee further recommends that the State
party include in its next report information on complaints of discrimination
under article 4 of the Convention, actions taken by prosecution authorities
and by the competent courts as well as, where appropriate, on reparation
granted to victims.
14. The Committee encourages
the State party to contribute to the United Nations Trust Fund for the
Programme for the Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination.
Furthermore, the Committee expresses the hope that the Federal Commission
against Racism will receive adequate resources to enable it to effectively
carry out its tasks and that other organizations and institutions dealing
with race relations also receive the necessary support.
15. It is noted that the
State party has not yet made the declaration provided for in article
14 of the Convention, and some members of the Committee request that
the possibility of such a declaration be considered.
16. The Committee suggests
to the State party that the report and these concluding observations
be widely distributed to the public in the various official languages
of Switzerland. The Committee recommends that the State party's second
periodic report, due on 29 December 1997, which may be of an updating
character, address all the points raised in the present concluding observations.