A number of different institutions currently gather data on racist and discriminatory behaviour and attitudes:
- Public sector bodies record data on acts that are punishable by law and which are reported to the police or lead to criminal proceedings or a conviction
- The media and independent organisations such as advice centres or complaints services also report on cases that are not brought to the attention of the judicial authorities, some of which may be based merely on suspicion.
- Representative surveys examine relevant attitudes within the general population.
Chapter 5 of the SCRA report (PDF, 1 MB, 26.11.2018) on racial discrimination in Switzerland in 2014 provides an overview of the available data on racial discrimination and racism in Switzerland.
Discrimination does not affect all areas of life to the same extent. According to the report, it is particularly prevalent when job hunting and in everyday working life. Foreigners seeking accommodation also feel discriminated against on a number of levels. On the other hand, cases of discrimination in dealings with the authorities and healthcare professionals are less frequent.
The most common forms of discrimination are verbal racial abuse and not being treated equally, whereas physical attacks are relatively rare.
The type of racism experienced differs depending on the target group: Antisemitism mvery frequently manifests itself through the sending of hate mail and dissemination of written and audio(visual) material. Men are more likely than women to experience racial discrimination, and young people are more often targeted than the elderly.
Racially motived acts committed in public can be prosecuted and punished under Art. 261bis of the Swiss Criminal Code (SCC) and Art. 171c of the Military Criminal Code (MCC). The Federal Commission against Racism monitors and analyses the application of these criminal law provisions. It publishes an online compilation of case law on Article 261bis SCC (German, French, Italian) containing fully anonymised summaries of court verdicts and decisions by appeal bodies since 1995, which can be freely consulted by visitors to the website. Visitors can search for specific cases or use the statistical tables to gain an overview of case law in this area.
The Federal Statistical Office began publishing annual police crime statistics in 2010, covering all offences punishable by law that were reported to the cantonal and communal police forces and recorded using a standardised methodology.
The Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities and the private sector NGO Coordination Intercommunautaire Contre l'Antisémitisme et la Diffamation publish a yearly report on antisemitism in German- and French-speaking Switzerland respectively. As the two reports differ in their design, it is not possible to compare the information they contain.
The Beratungsnetz für Rassismusopfer, a network of advice centres for the victims of racism, has been collecting data on racial discrimination throughout Switzerland via its DoSyRa documentation and monitoring system since 2008. The data is provided by 26 advice centres in various cantons and published in an annual report.
The report is available on the network’s website (German, French, Italian), on the humanrights.ch information platform and on the website of the Federal Commission against Racism.
The «Chronology of racism in Switzerland», a report produced each year by the Society for Minorities in Switzerland and the Foundation against racism and antisemitism, provides an additional overview.
Cultural diversity presents challenges for Switzerland. The survey on diversity and coexistence in Switzerland aims to build a reliable picture of the various groups that make up the country’s inhabitants and how successfully they live side by side by collating information on the acceptance, rejection and integration of certain sections of the population. Moreover, the resulting data enables the tracking of social trends in relation to racism, xenophobia, hostility – in particular towards Muslims, black people and Jewish people – and discrimination. The data gathered serves as a basis for monitoring social change and making detailed analyses. It also helps guide policies on cohesion, integration and combating discrimination.
The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights observes and analyses xenophobia, racism and antisemitism, monitors respect for the principle of non-discrimination and encourages preventive action. One of the Agency’s main tasks is managing and analysing the data collected through FRANET, the European information and research network.