UN rapporteur asks Swiss to take down 'racist' election poster

The UN special rapporteur on racism demanded Friday that the Swiss People's Party (UDC) withdraw a controversial election poster, saying it incited racism and religious hatred.

UN rapporteur asks Swiss to take down 'racist' election poster
The UN special rapporteur on racism demanded Friday that the Swiss People's Party (UDC) withdraw a controversial election poster, saying it incited racism and religious hatred.

Special rapporteur Doudou Diene spoke while addressing the sixth session of the Human Rights Council which is in session in Geneva.

The rapporteur demanded an explanation from the Swiss government last week over the UDC's poster which shows white sheep in a field kicking out a black sheep. The poster has provoked a nationwide row on television and radio.

The government replied earlier this week, stressing the importance of freedom of expression. The poster, which has been displayed in the run-up to federal elections due in October, supports UDC policies to pass legislation to deport foreign criminals without Swiss nationality and their families back to their homeland.

The UDC is the largest party in parliament and a member of the ruling coalition. The poster campaign has brought fierce condemnation from immigrant groups and left-wing parties.

Diene told the Human Rights Council delegates: "I believe that freedom of expression should not be used to incite racial and religious hatred and that the withdrawal of this poster would be more in keeping with the image of Switzerland as a country respecting human rights."

DPA
Last Mod: 14 Eylül 2007, 16:40
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