Switzerland was slammed as the "black sheep" of Europe on Monday after voters endorsed a far-right push to automatically expel foreign residents convicted of certain crimes.Slammed by whom, precisely? Well there is the Austrian news website, which accused the Swiss of voting against foreigners. Well, no, not exactly. The Swiss have no intention of deporting foreigners who live and work in their country. They do not, however, seem to like foreigners who go to their country and commit serious crimes. Shocking of them, I know, and against international law, according to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung. Really? International law says you must tolerate anyone and everyone who happens to want to commit murder or large-scale robbery or rape in your country?
The EU, according to the same AFP article, is fulminating. This is going against bilateral agreements that ensure freedom of movement. For criminals? I don't recall that right in the Treaties and is the EU not the organization that is insisting on every tighter Europe-wide controls to fight international crime? Ah yes, but the Swiss are interested in their own country. That is their great sin.
French newspapers are apparently in shock. As well they might be. France, after all, deports people swiftly and quietly without bothering to ask anyone about it or bothering to find out whether they had committed any crimes.
Not only the EU is fulminating but, as EUObserver points out
Human rights groups slammed the result, with Amnesty International saying the approval of this plan represents a ''dark day for human rights in Switzerland.''Of course, third or fourth generation immigrants are not exactly immigrants but that, presumably, will be clarified in the legislation that has to follow the referendum. In the meantime, let us for a moment consider what all these tranzis are saying. They are calling on the Swiss government to ignore the people's vote in the name of some nebulous concept of international human rights. They are also saying that it is one's inalienable human right to go to another country and commit serious crimes there. Really?
The European Network Against Racism (ENAR), a Brussels-based umbrella organisation, said the vote is the "result of a xenophobic and discriminatory campaign launched by the populist Swiss People's Party, making dangerous amalgams between immigration and criminality."
A "second-class" category of Swiss residents will emerge, ENAR warns, which would be a "clear breach of the fundamental human rights principle of equality before the law."
The group also noted it was not clear where the limit would be set - first, second or even third or fourth generation immigrants.
As Alex Singleton says in his blog in the Daily Telegraph:
Amnesty’s reasoning is that deportations could cause convicts to be sent back to countries where they could face persecution. But this is a ridiculous argument: no one is forcing visitors to Switzerland to commit offences. If people don’t want to be sent back home, why don’t they just desist from rape, robbery, murder and fraud?Obviously because even to make such a suggestion is to infringe their human rights.
Then there is the question of taxation. The Swiss do insist on having a say on that, as well.
Meanwhile, a proposal to impose a minimum tax on Switzerland's wealthiest citizens, which was also put for vote on Sunday, was rejected with 58.5 percent.
"The bad mood hits foreigners but not the rich," ran the headline in Der Bund of Bern. The Yes to the People's Party initiative showed that "questions of Swiss identity and culture, triggered by rapidly growing social change and migration, bother Swiss people like virtually nothing else."
As I suspected and as the Reuters Factbox explains the vote about taxation has to do with the cantons jealously protecting their rights to set taxation and to compete for those foreigners who come to the country with good intentions, i.e. to make money by undercutting each other's tax rates.
Need I say it? I am shocked, shocked.