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Swiss Voters Approve Referendum to Automatically Expel Criminals From Country

On the Slaw blog, Simon Fodden alerts us to an interesting referendum that was approved yesterday by voters in Switzerland. Just under 53 percent of voters voted in favor of a proposal to automatically expel foreigners convicted of various crimes from the country altogether. According to the Swiss Federal Department of Justice and Police, the vote means that going forward, "foreign nationals who have committed one of the criminal offences named in the text of the initiative should automatically lose their right of residence and be deported to their country of origin."

It is the automatic nature of the expulsion that is most controversial. All countries, Fodden writes, have provisions for deporting non-citizens who commit crimes, and the proposal appears to be at odds with international laws that prohibit sending people back to countries where they may be tortured or face the death penalty.

Fodden writes that the proposal -- an initiative of the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) -- was unsuccessfully opposed on the grounds that it was xenophobic and perhaps racist in nature. As proof of a possible racist motivation, opponents reportedly pointed to an SVP poster promoting the measure that showed white sheep kicking a black sheep off the Swiss flag and out of the country.

Posted by Bruce Carton on November 29, 2010 at 02:43 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)


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