At the end of 2006, 5,888 people were interned in Swiss prisons. 31 per cent were Swiss citizens – 69 per cent were foreigners or asylum-seekers.
This is a story that the Independent sees as sinister. I see it as a return to common sense. The Swiss are sick of immigrants committing a disproportionate amount of crime in Switzerland. They see too many Muslims as a threat to their culture and do not want to see minarets on mosques fouling the Swiss skylines. Lastly, they want families of terrorists and social miscreants deported along with the convicted offenders. It all seems sensible to me, but the Independent is worried that national survival skills will transfer to other EU countries. How awful that would be.
Switzerland: Europe's heart of darkness? Independent
Switzerland is known as a haven of peace and neutrality. But today it is home to a new extremism that has alarmed the United Nations. Proposals for draconian new laws that target the country's immigrants have been condemned as unjust and racist. A poster campaign, the work of its leading political party, is decried as xenophobic. Has Switzerland become Europe's heart of darkness? By Paul VallelyPublished: 07 September 2007the rest here
At first sight, the poster looks like an innocent children's cartoon. Three white sheep stand beside a black sheep. The drawing makes it looks as though the animals are smiling. But then you notice that the three white beasts are standing on the Swiss flag. One of the white sheep is kicking the black one off the flag, with a crafty flick of its back legs.
The poster is, according to the United Nations, the sinister symbol of the rise of a new racism and xenophobia in the heart of one of the world's oldest independent democracies.
A worrying new extremism is on the rise. For the poster – which bears the slogan "For More Security" – is not the work of a fringe neo-Nazi group. It has been conceived – and plastered on to billboards, into newspapers and posted to every home in a direct mailshot – by the Swiss People's Party (the Schweizerische Volkspartei or SVP) which has the largest number of seats in the Swiss parliament and is a member of the country's coalition government.