Swiss rise in racist incidents
Racist incidents are on the rise in Switzerland according to a report published Monday by rights groups who accused politicians of contributing to the trend.
Muslim and black men were the most common victims of 178 cases recorded last year, a study by the Federal Commission against Racism and humanrights.ch found.
It compares to 162 cases in 2009.
"In recent years a number of MPs have been employed in denying the presence of racism in our society," the report said.
"In doing so, they are creating a favourable environment for exclusion and xenophobia."
The groups said votes to ban the building of minarets and send back foreign criminals, initiated by the right-wing Swiss People's Party, were directly linked to the rise in cases.
"After the vote on minarets (in November 2009) Muslims were increasingly targeted," commission director Doris Angst told AFP.
Muslims represented the majority of cases followed by blacks from sub-Saharan Africa.
Most cases involved verbal abuse but some involved physical injury, the report said.
"Most of the perpetrators were from a higher socio-economic background," it found.
The study said that among the incidents 25 (12 of them relating to xenophobia) occurred in public places, 23 at work, and 23 during contact with the police.
Among the "shocking" cases in the report, is that of an African man forced to undress during a police search on a train. He was told that it happened because he was "black".
The Swiss government created the commission in 1995 following the ratification of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
© 2011 AFP