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Report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, mission to Switzerland, A/HRC/4/19/Add.2, January 30, 2007

87. The Special Rapporteur therefore recommends that the Government make available the appropriate means, mechanisms and institutions to implement this political will (…)

At the institutional level, the Special Rapporteur recommends two measures: (…)

In order to ensure a holistic approach that takes account of common underlying sources and of the link between all forms of discrimination, the Government should establish a federal commission to promote human rights and combat all forms of discrimination relating to race, religious belief, gender, age, disability and sexual preference. Bearing in mind the urgency of questions relating to racism and xenophobia, the commission should attach high priority, at the initial stage, to combating racism and xenophobia. The commission’s mandate should incorporate the current mandates of the Federal Commission against Racism and the Federal Commission for Foreigners. The commission should be structured around subcommissions relating to each of these forms of discrimination and should be granted administrative, legal and normative powers of investigation, action and appeal with respect to all forms of discrimination, as well as the appropriate human, material and financial resources. Its budget should be allocated by the Federal Assembly.

The president and members of the commission should be appointed by the Federal Assembly at the proposal of the Government, in consultation with political parties, civil society organizations and all cultural, religious and linguistic ommunities, in order to reflect the diversity of Swiss society and the necessary balances. The commission should submit an annual report to the Federal Assembly containing an assessment of the situation and action-oriented recommendations for ensuring the promotion of and respect for human rights, and for combating all forms of discrimination. The commission should be administered by a technical secretariat under its authority, either by the transfer, strengthening and transformation of the current Service for Combating Racism, reinforced with additional human, material and budgetary resources, or by a new mechanism. This service should be given the mandate of follow-up, collection of statistical data, and recording and analysing incidents, manifestations and expressions of discrimination, for the commission.

Link to full text of the report: Mission report-SR Racism-Switzerland-2007-eng