Five hundred and seventy-two cases of racial discrimination were recorded in Switzerland in 2020. Most of them occurred in the workplace and in the neighborhood. As in previous years, blacks were the most affected by the phenomenon, with 206 cases.
Racist incidents have mainly been observed in public space, contacts with the administration and the police, as well as on the Internet, adds the Federal Commission against Racism (CFR) in its report published on Sunday.
The world of work remains the area most affected by discrimination, with 95 incidents recorded in 2020 by the 21 counseling centers for victims of racism. Victims report humiliation, disparaging or disrespectful behavior on the part of colleagues, or unequal treatment by superiors.
A student thus approached a counseling center for having been the subject of contemptuous remarks on the part of the principal of the primary school in which she was doing an internship, because she was wearing a turban.
The director notably demanded to see her hair, asked if she had any hair problems and recommended that she do her hair differently. After this confrontation, the young girl was ordered, without justification, to abandon her internship.
Of the 572 cases identified, 72 concerned incidents noted in the neighborhood or neighborhood. The restrictions imposed in the public sphere to fight the pandemic have led to a shift in cases of discrimination in the private sphere, in particular the environment close to home.
A family of recognized refugees thus reported having suffered bullying from a neighbor when they moved into new accommodation. This person has repeatedly made irreverent remarks towards Muslims, insulted children in the stairwell and wrongly accused the family of making noise, going so far as to call the police.
At the request of the family, the counseling center sent a letter to the neighbor informing her of the acts punishable under the criminal law against racism, which helped to improve the situation.
After general xenophobia (304 cases), anti-black racism (206 cases) and hostility towards Muslims (55 cases) were the most frequently recorded grounds of discrimination. In almost a quarter of the cases, the counseling centers concluded that there was multiple discrimination.
This usually combined racial discrimination and discrimination on the grounds of residence status, sex or social status.
Comparison not possible
Due to a change in the data entry nomenclature, the 2020 results cannot be compared with those of previous years, specifies the CFR in its report, also drawn up by the association humanrights.ch.
The presentation of the report has in fact been revised to highlight certain issues related to target groups. To better take into account cases of ordinary racism and incidents in the private sphere, cases for which racist motivation cannot be totally excluded are now recorded as cases of racial discrimination.