Racism: Young people in Switzerland feel increasingly discriminated against

Young people in Switzerland are far more likely to feel discriminated against than five years ago, a new government report reveals.

Racism: Young people in Switzerland feel increasingly discriminated against
A 2016 referendum campaign poster by the right-wing Swiss People's Party calling for foreign criminals to be expelled from Switzerland. File photo: AFP

A total of 38 percent of people aged 15–24 in Switzerland said they felt they had been the victim of discrimination, up from 28 percent earlier, according to the latest report on racial discrimination in Switzerland published by the Service for Combating Racism (SCRA).

The overall figure for all age groups is 28 percent.

READ ALSO: Racism in Switzerland – 'People of colour are automatically perceived as different'

The SCRA report (a short version is available here in English) looks at latest research on racism in Switzerland and the state of play in efforts to combat the problem.

The study's authors note that while more research is needed to learn whether young people are actually experiencing more racism, there is an increased awareness of racial discrimination among people in this age group.

The comprehensive report also highlights that racism is especially likely to occur when people are looking for work or during working life.

In addition, the SCRA stressed that new strategies must be developed to fight online hate speech.

Many of the findings from in the report published on Monday stem from the diversity and coexistence in Switzerland survey.

Th 2018 edition of that poll found that 59 percent of respondents believe racism is a serious problem in Switzerland while 31 percent of people said not enough was being done to deal with the issue.

One third of poll respondents said they felt uncomfortable around people who were different. A total of 11 percent of people said they had negative attitudes towards black people and Muslims and nine percent said they had these negative attitudes towards Jewish people.

READ ALSO: 'No Asians' – Zurich's ETH Uni hit by racist graffiti

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Switzerland sticks with mountain name despite ‘racist’ ties

A Swiss town on Wednesday refused to rename the Agassizhorn mountain despite its namesake's espousal of racist views.

Switzerland sticks with mountain name despite 'racist' ties
Switzerland's Agassizhorn. Image: Creative Commons

The 19th century Swiss geologist Louis Agassiz was known for research into fish, fossils and glaciers, but he has also been criticised in recent years for defending racist ideas.

After emigrating to the United States in 1846, Agassiz argued for racial segregation and hierarchies, and fiercely attacked Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.

IN PICTURES: Powerful images from anti-racism protests across Switzerland 

But mayor of the town of Grindelwald, Beat Bucher, disagreed with those who wanted to change the peak's name, saying: “We cannot erase the stains of history.”

In a reference to the central Swiss summit, Bucher added: “It is better to accept it with its positive and negative aspects.”

The mountain peak, at just under 4,000 metres (13,000 feet) is shared by two other municipalities, Guttannen and Fieschertal, which had already rejected a bid to rename it.

A fresh effort was made after the killing in late May of George Floyd, an African American asphyxiated by a white police officer, generated a global wave of revulsion against racist symbols.

A similar push to rename the mountain was rejected in 2007.