The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965) enshrines the prohibition of racial discrimination and provides for additional obligations to combat and prevent such discrimination. Switzerland acceded to the treaty on 29 November 1994 after it amended its legal system to include criminal prosecution for racist acts (Article 261bis SCC). As of 1 November 2018, the convention has 179 contracting state parties.
In line with Article 9 of the convention, Switzerland is obliged to submit regular country reports on its implementation of the convention to the responsible supervisory body, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Switzerland's first report was adopted by the Federal Council in December 1996 and underwent a review by the committee in March 1998. The present report combines the tenth, eleventh and twelfth reports and includes statements on legal and policy developments since Switzerland's last presentation of its report in February 2014.
In summary Switzerland has been effective in implementing the convention and the committee's key recommendations, in particular: established practice for authorities when dealing with the punishable offence of racial discrimination (Art. 261bis SCC) and a range of legal measures at every level (federal, cantonal and communal) to strengthen protection against discrimination under the cantonal integration programme. Additional vital progress was made thanks to the efforts of the authorities and NGOs to raise awareness and educate people about the issues and through the creation of institutions to promote understanding between people with different origins, nationalities, ethnic background and skin colour, without racial discrimination.
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