AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: Swiss deportation referendum success puts human rights at risk

by , under All categories, Enrique

Amnesty International urges the Swiss authorities at all levels not to enforce the deportation of foreigners convicted of certain criminal offences if this will result in human rights violations after voters backed the move in a referendum on Sunday.

If the results of the referendum known as the ’Deportation Initiative’ are implemented, the Swiss constitution would be amended to permit the “automatic” and immediate deportation of non-citizens convicted for certain criminal offences to their countries of origin.  According to media sources 52.9% per cent of the votes were in favour of the amendment.

Foreign nationals convicted for several criminal offences, including murder, rape, (armed) robbery, trafficking in persons and in drugs, as well as welfare benefit fraud, will be immediately stripped of their residence permit and right to remain in the country.

The Swiss People’s Party used xenophobic publicity materials. © Qtea

“If put into practice, the amendment to the constitution risks violating Switzerland’s obligations under international law, in particular the obligation not to return anyone to a country where they would be at risk of torture or other forms of persecution,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Deputy Programme Director.

“Switzerland cannot, and must not, allow popular — and xenophobic — initiatives to override its obligations under international law. Switzerland should also grant persons subject to deportation the opportunity to appeal any decision.”

The amendment required by the referendum removes any possibility of appealing the deportation order, which would be made by a regional migration office. The removal of the right to appeal would also put Switzerland in breach of its international obligations.

The move could put many second and third generation migrants at risk of deportation. Those whose parents were not Swiss citizens at the time of their birth, and retain the nationality of their families’ country of origin, could be deported if the amendment is implemented.

The Deportation Initiative took place following a campaign launched by the populist Swiss People’s Party that resorted to openly discriminatory and xenophobic publicity materials, including a poster with a slogan “Ivan S. – a rapist and soon Swiss?” and another with a cartoon graphic depicting a black sheep being kicked out of Switzerland by white sheep.

  1. Enrique

    I was in 2008 on a train in Switzerland and met a very nice young woman. We started to speak of the Swiss system of democracy and autonomy. When I asked her why some Swiss had a difficult time dealing with foreigners despite their direct democracy, she said: “Immigration is such a new thing.” Even though there may have been some truth in what she said, the Swiss system appears to not have favored foreigners. This is my great fear in Finland as well: The aim of populist parties like the True Finns is to exclude others from society. It is far from the US or Canadian model that is far more open to other cultures. Many far-right parties like Muutos 2011 are openly in favor of Swiss direct democracy. They support this type of system because it would give them a carte blanche to strengthen one group at the cost of the other.

  2. JusticeDemon

    Switzerland has neither signed nor ratified the fourth protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights, but its EEA membership may lead to some considerable friction in the event of the collective expulsion of any EU citizen.

    Switzerland ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 1992, making no reservation with respect to Article 13, which most certainly does outlaw summary expulsion in the form envisaged. Finland managed to maintain provisions on summary expulsion for a few years after ratifying CCPR in 1975, but those were slower moving times. Even so, the cases exposed by Matti Pellonpää’s doctoral thesis were acutely embarrassing for the Finnish government of the day.

  3. Switzerland

    What is more important?

    The well being of a nations citizens

    Or supporting the human rights of people who commit crimes and who have no respect to their victims human rights.

  4. Tony Garcia

    “Foreign nationals convicted for several criminal offences, including murder, rape, (armed) robbery, trafficking in persons and in drugs, as well as welfare benefit fraud, will be immediately stripped of their residence permit and right to remain in the country.”

    And you are against this, you think these people should remain among us… Very well…

    • Enrique

      Tony, nobody is condoning crime. The problem is that the law should not see the Other as some potential criminal with unequal treatment. And yes, I do believe a country that defends human rights should not return people to countries where their lives would be in danger. Another important question: We this measure deter crime? I don’t think so.

  5. Tony Garcia

    “And yes, I do believe a country that defends human rights should not return people to countries where their lives would be in danger. “

    How about the human rights of your children? Whose live will be in danger if we keep rapists and murderers in our country? (more than we already have)

  6. JusticeDemon

    Tony the Toby

    The problem is not the material content but the summary character of the procedure.

    Example of welfare benefit fraud: your Finnish father-in-law is painting a fence. You are unemployed and receiving benefit. You offer to help paint the fence. The job takes all day, during which your mother-in-law provides refreshments at no charge. The job takes all day and you miss the last train home. Your in-laws put you up for the night and pay your return train fare plus a small sum to cover the cost of a snack from the train restaurant wagon.

    What do you think, Tony the Toby? Deportable offence?

  7. JusticeDemon

    Tony the Toby

    Maahanmuuttoviranomaisilla on karkotuksissa harkintavalta.

    That you should choose, in this context, to quote this line from the HS article only indicates that you have completely misunderstood the point of the change in Switzerland, which removes the very discretion that you are praising.

    Thick as a brick.

  8. Tony Garcia

    “the law should not see the Other as some potential criminal “

    This not about potential but convicted criminals. We don’t need or want these rubbish here. By defend this people we can easily see that Finland’s best interests is the least of your concerns.

    Nevertheless thanks for being so honest and give us such a clear picture of what Multiculturalism will means for Finland.

    This article will definitely fly far way…

    • Enrique

      What I am speaking of has nothing to do with multiculturalism but with what civilized Western societies defend human rights. What kind of an atmosphere does it create when you know that the punishment you will receive is harsher than what a national would get if he committed the same crime? I think that that way of handing down justice only fuels more inequality.

      Moreover, I think I have given some pretty good explanations and definitions what multiculturalism is. Handing people the same rights is NOT multiculturalism per say but how our democratic system works.

  9. Tony Garcia

    “I think that that way of handing down justice only fuels more inequality.”

    I don’t care, if the guy is a menace to your society and if there is any chance to send him away, so be it.

    His yooman rites are not more important that your children safety.

    PS: Talking about integration I can guarantee that on this matter my opinion is the very same than the vast majority of Finnish people, yours though…

  10. Tony Garcia

    “Handing people the same rights is NOT multiculturalism per say but how our democratic system works.”

    You are 100% right. Multiculturalism is giving minorities more rights than the majority, that’s why I’m totally against it.

  11. JusticeDemon

    Tony the Toby again blathering on about human rights and how he’s agin ’em, while he hasn’t got the faintest idea what they are, or which of his own human rights he would willingly relinquish.

    If brains were gunpowder, you wouldn’t have enough to fart with.

  12. That foreignguy

    Interesting blog. If I am correclty understanding this then some of you on this site are actually saying that the actions of the Swiss are ok? Just to be clear…some of you agree with this?I also find it interesting that a country like Switzerland can be so contradictory to pass this law but yet sleep in bed with many large businesses that have less then clean sheets. Whats the next step after this? Sometimes I think people who create these laws should move to North Korea where only they can live and keep those filthy foreigners out. A clockwork Orange ring any bells?

    “Multiculturalism is giving minorities more rights than the majority, that’s why I’m totally against it.”

    This is amazing. You actually formed these thoughts which is scary. Well opinions are like assholes and all that.

    • Enrique

      Hi That foreignguy. Welcome to Migrant Tales. We hope to hear from you and your views on this topic. I agree with you: Some would be happier in North Korea where they could realize their Orwellian temptations.

      The problem with multiculturalism or diversity is that those that criticize it don’t even undertand what it is. A good example is what I posted about the red herrings of the True FInns:

      Red herring 3: We don’t want women to wear scarves because we are for gender equality.

      This is one of the most hypocritical statements that I have read by parties like the True Finns. Let’s see what they are saying, in fact… They are ready to deprive people of their religious freedom and their right to their cultural identity in order to improve women’s rights. Does this make any sense?

  13. Hannu

    “Conviction of an “aggravated felony” has dire consequences for a noncitizen, including automatic deportation without the usual rights of appeal and a permanent bar against returning to the United States. ”

    hmm…

  14. JusticeDemon

    Hannu

    The USA has had an appalling record on human rights commitments since long before the GW Bush administration. It did not even sign the CCPR until 1972 (remember the commitment of the Carter administration to human rights?), taking a further 20 years to ratify this basic human rights instrument at the very end of the GHW Bush administration. The USA has signed (1995), but has yet to ratify the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child – one of only two nations that have not done so. The other nation is Somalia – which has had no government capable of ratifying this, or any other international human rights instrument.

    This embarrassingly poor record is the background to the American Taliban mumbojumbo on human rights that Tony the Toby keeps spouting on this blog.

  15. Tony Garcia

    “Some would be happier in North Korea where they could realize their Orwellian temptations. ”

    Like controlled freedom of speech?

    “Does this make any sense?”

    Of course not, in a multicultural world, the husband (Muslim of course) right to dictate what the wife and daughters must wear triumphs over their right to decide for themselves.

  16. JusticeDemon

    Tony the Toby

    Some would be happier in North Korea where they could realize their Orwellian temptations.

    Like controlled freedom of speech?

    No, Toby. Like rich white Brazilians burning down the rain forests for no better reason than greed.

  17. Tony Garcia

    Enrique, where is Switzerland comments?

    Anyway…

    “What is more important?”

    As long as those criminals are NOT Westerners White Christians, the criminals, of course…We are talking about multiculturalism, please don’t forget this…

    • Enrique

      Sorry Tony I don’t think you grasp what multiculturalism means. Switzerland’s comment is somewhere below this one.

    • Enrique

      Tony, your points of view are very reactive. Why not try to be more proactive and offer us doable solutions to issues like integration instead of fear-mongering.

  18. Tony Garcia

    “Sorry Tony I don’t think you grasp what multiculturalism means. “

    I do very well. And thanks especially to this blog I can guarantee to you that many Finns are understanding it to.

  19. Tony Garcia

    “Why not try to be more proactive and offer us doable solutions to issues like integration instead of fear-mongering.”

    I just did, and have done it for more than 2 years. Adapt/assimilate/integrate and you’ll do just fine. Do what you have to do rather than expect the host country to do it for you. Nothing could be more simple…

    I know Americans, Chinese and South Koreans (just to mention some non-EU) who have done it in Finland and are vary happy with with their lives.

  20. Tony Garcia

    Enrique, maybe I can give you a very wise advice I received on this very same blog.

    “When I moved to Finland I decided to live the Finnish life to the fullest”.

    Unfortunately I can’t quite remember who said this, do you?

    • Enrique

      What does Finnish life mean? And do you think that others don’t? I think you underestimate people. By living the fullest, in the context I meant, was not to live in two countries at the same time. This means that you can practice your culture where you are but acknowledge that Finland is your home. You don’t live with this constant restless yearning, or with one foot in Finland and the ohter in your former home country.

  21. Tony Garcia

    “What does Finnish life mean?”

    It means that we don’t force our wife/daughter to wear what we believe they should against their will, we don’t discriminate against women, we don’t mutilate our children, we don’t force our daughters to marry who they don’t want, we don’t use libraries as pray room, we don’t have one religion only swimming time, we don’t demand workmates stop drinking, we don’t demand that schools brake the uniform code, we don’t refuse to cook pork if it’s on the restaurant menu, we don’t send part of our dole to support terrorist groups, we don’t demand Nativity plays at schools are cancelled or that Christmas trees are removed, etc…

    And the most importantly of all, we don’t play the race/religious card when things don’t go the way we want.

    “And do you think that others don’t? “

    Some do, and are very happy with their life in Finland, didn’t I just say that? Don’t you know any?

    “I think you underestimate others.”

    No, I don’t, any immigrant, independently of race/religion/culture, can very well assimilate and adapt to the host country. It’s only a matter of choice.

  22. JusticeDemon

    Tony the Toby

    Amusing to see our resident idiot defining Finnish life as a long series of prohibitions.

    Welcome to the land of the free.

    Tony the Toby: seven beers short of a sixpack

  23. Klay_Immigrant

    It’s always nice to see organisations and individuals put the rights of immigrant criminals ahead of the safety of law abiding residents.

    Also Enrique automatic deportation is not treating immigrants differently to natives because it’s impossible to deport a native from their own country as they are already living in the country they would be deported to, but as there isn’t any actual physical movement it seems that they have had a lesser sentence.

    As for would be immigrant criminals in future hopefully deportation may actually act as a deterant to committ crime but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  24. Osmo

    “It means that we don’t…”

    When you are a guest in a home, you don’t make demands on your host, if you want the relationship to last. Similarly, it makes sense that immigrants refrain from making demands to change every little thing that the Finns call part of their culture. Why, if every immigrant did that, and the host complies, it would not be Finland anymore. Then everyone will want to leave, but where to?

    • Enrique

      Osmo, did you say you live in Canada? When was the last time you were in Finland? Have you ever been to Finland?

      No need to get pushy here. You can state your case without using words like “dummy” and “smart ass.” Thank you.

  25. Tony Garcia

    “No need to get pushy here. You can state your case without using words like “dummy” and “smart ass.” Thank you.”

    Well that depends on who’s saying, doesn’t? Those who agrees with you can use any offensive words with no problems, can’t they?

  26. Klay_Immigrant

    I guess this man deserves to be allowed to stay in the U.K.

    ‘Blackburn death crash driver will not be deported’

    ‘An asylum-seeker who left a girl dying under the wheels of his car when he fled the scene can stay in the UK, two immigration judges have ruled.’

    ‘Iraqi Kurd Aso Mohammed Ibrahim was jailed for four months after knocking down Amy Houston in Blackburn’

    ‘The 33-year-old, who did not hold a driving licence, was jailed for four months for driving while disqualified and failing to stop after an accident.’

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-12007100

    • Enrique

      Here is a good observation by Jeremy Gould about what the downfall of the Soviet Union meant for Finland: “Far from inevitable, the champions of social introversion evoke artificial images of heroic patriotism that prevailed in the 1930s as Finland armed herself for war against the Soviet Union. As then, today’s politics of introversion constructs a milieu of nostalgic and ahistoric nationalism, an Us vs Them mentality. As in the 1930s, the ‘Us’ is framed in ethnic-linguistic terms, as a defense of true, primordial Finnishness. Lacking a foreign entity like the Soviet Union to demonize, the contemporary forces of nostalgic nationalism have focused their hate at immigrants in general, and Muslims in particular, as the new Them against which society must protect itself.”

  27. Tony Garcia

    Very well Enrique, you solved the mystery, now we know why Finns “hate” Muslims. So, one gone a few more to go, tell us now why also the Swedish “hate” Muslims, and the Germans, the Dutch, the French, the Swiss, the Americans, the Brazilians, etc…

    • Enrique

      I have never seen a survey that shows how much a country “hates” some group. Taking into account the international situation and global economic uncertainty, it is nothing strange that some groups and parties in government are reaping political benefits by stressing “Us” and “Them.” Didn’t Bush and the Neocons declare war on the Muslim world? It would be naive to think that such a declaration would have no impact on public opinion and geopolitics.

      But let’s take that question you asked and throw it on your court. Why are you so reactive towards Muslims? Please don’t tell as about how many bombs they have thrown (the West has thrown more at them). What other things would you like to bring to light WITHOUT generalizing?

  28. xyz

    Tony, do you talk about extremist Muslims or Muslims in general? There are also Germans, Dutch, French, Swiss etc. who are actually Muslims.

  29. Klay_Immigrant

    Honestly Tony the group of people who hate Muslims the most are Indian Hindus and Sikhs as Muslims caused so many problems in India. That’s the main reason why Pakistan was created from India in 1947 to separate the problematic Muslims from the rest. They are still arguing over the disputed Kashmir region sandwiched between the two countries. No accusations of racism is possible as they practically come from the same gene pool so only religious disputes exist.

    The biggest nightmare for a Hindu/Sikh parent would be for their daughter/son to marry a Muslim. Ask any Hindu/Sikh you know.

    • Enrique

      Klay, the easiest thing in the world is to find out who hates whom. No-brainer. But try to figure out why far-right group relish in this task. Finns have always had issues with the outside world. Finns base their nationalism on how different “They” are from “Us.” I agree totally with Gould.

  30. Tony Garcia

    “Why are you so reactive towards Muslims? “

    Because they despise what we are and are trying to turn westerns countries into Islamic theocracies. Simple. As I said before, religion is a private matter and it should be kept in that way.

  31. Tony Garcia

    Klay, let me disagree with you. The group that hates Muslims the most are former Muslims. Have a look what Ayaan Hirsi Ali has to say, I already posted here many videos from her

  32. xyz

    Because they despise what we are and are trying to turn westerns countries into Islamic theocracies. Simple. As I said before, religion is a private matter and it should be kept in that way.
    -So according to you every Muslim is a fanatic? 🙂

    • Enrique

      –Multiculturalism is a dead ideology and England is suffering because of this leftist ideology, shut the door when you leave please is what I think, no more bloody immigrants…

      This is not a sensible proposal. If you had it your way, you’d kick out all the immigrants from England? I don’t even think the BNP is that radical.

  33. JusticeDemon

    I guess that chap in Cornwall who can prove he is descended from a cave dweller living in the area 30,000 years ago is safe then?

    The rest of the UK population clearly doesn’t belong there. No doubt they can be resettled in the East.

    And naturally that Pikey Nick Griffin will be the first to go.

    • Enrique

      –I guess that chap in Cornwall who can prove he is descended from a cave dweller living in the area 30,000 years ago is safe then?

      Good question.

  34. newsextra1962

    No enrique I would not kick everyone out Ifit was my way I just said W e need to close our borders now, no more immigrants from anywhere in the world be they black, white, european, chinese, Muslim, Hindu, no more migrants from anywhere….

    And as for trying to side me with the BNP, we ll that is a cheap and easy tactic usually used by anyone who is against anyone with views that oppose theirs on Multiculturalism and immigration..

  35. JusticeDemon

    newsextra1962

    We need to close our borders now, no more immigrants from anywhere in the world be they black, white, european, chinese, Muslim, Hindu, no more migrants from anywhere….

    Now all we need is for the USA to follow suit. Then Wills and Kate will be seeking refugee status in Finland.

    How much of this agenda do you disagree with?