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SVP poster against uncontrolled Muslim immigration. Wikipedia. CC BY-SA 4.0 File:Zurichantiislam.jpg

Swiss referendum to make public nationality and origin of offenders

Does it matter if two burglars are Swiss nationals? Or if a traffic accident was caused by a recently naturalized person? A referendum in Switzerland is being planned, as a popular initiative of the conservative SVP party. It will be submitted to the people on March 7, to force the police to publish the nationality and origin of offenders.

Published: February 16, 2021, 7:58 am

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    Zurich

    In Zurich, an initiative of the SVP will be submitted to the people on March 7, and demands that the police make public the nationality of offenders in their press releases. It wants to oblige authorities to a systematic publication of the nationality and the origin of the criminals, the suspects and the victims.

    The police of the City of Zurich decided in 2017 not to publish this information anymore. And it is one of the few precincts to discontinue the release of ethnically-based data in Switzerland. In fact, because each police force can decide on its practice, the tendency is rather to include nationality.

    In response to the decision by the Zurich police, the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) launched a cantonal initiative. The government rejected it, but proposed a counter-project. If accepted, the nationality of offenders must in future be communicated, but not the origins of naturalized persons.

    The Young Greens and the Young Socialists do not share this opinion and oppose the initiative and the government’s counter-project.

    For Laura Fischer (Jeunes PS), “transparency would mean being attentive to the real causes of crime, such as the financial situation of these people, their level of education or even the violence they may have experienced. We should start there, prevent violence or even promote access to training and fight against financial inequalities”.

    In the canton of Solothurn, a similar initiative of the SVP was accepted by the people in 2012 by more than 70 percent. It remains to be seen that the people of Zurich will do the same on March 7.

    The SVP has warned against immigrants tapping into the social welfare system and criticised the high proportion of foreigners among the public insurance benefit recipients and other social welfare programs. According to the opinion of the party, such benefits amount to a waste of taxpayers’ money.

    Numerous SVP members have shown themselves to be critical of Islam by supporting an initiative to ban the construction of minarets. In November 2009 this ban won the majority vote (57,5 percent) and became an amendment to the Swiss Constitution.

    Other victories of the SVP in regards to immigration policy include the federal popular initiatives “for the expulsion of criminal foreigners” (52,3 percent), and “against mass immigration” (50,3 percent) in 2010 and 2014 respectively.

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    • LuciusAnnaeusSeneca

      This seems so common-sense a measure that even much of the Swiss left is supporting it. In a country increasingly concerned about non-European “migrant” crime, the data requirement should pass. And perhaps Switzerland’s example may inspire other European countries to ensure the public is better-informed.

      • In many cases the governments do not want the people to know too much about who is committing the crime. Back in the 1970’s a UK published newspaper an article on a serial sex offender in North London where I lived at that time. He was an immigrant. They then went on to list the numbers of people and their ethnic background who were in jail for r–e. 90% were from the same ethnic back ground. Harold Wilson was Prime Minister at the time and he gave the editor of the news paper some flak for making the facts and figures public saying that they were damaging for race relations. I suspect that governments do not want an imported criminals ethnicity made public or their numbers in our jails in case they stand accused by the people of misgovernment and lack of wisdom as to who they let into our country and give passports to.

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