Right-wing extremists, including skinheads, who expressed hostility toward foreigners, ethnic and religious minorities, and immigrants continued to be publicly active. Police estimated that the number of extremists remained steady at approximately 1,200. Statistics gathered by the Foundation against Racism and Anti-Semitism indicated that there were a total of 178 incidents against foreigners or minorities reported in 2010, compared with 112 incidents
recorded in 2009. These figures included instances of verbal and written attacks, which were much more frequent than physical assaults. Following the November 2010 adoption of the referendum on the automatic expulsion of foreigners convicted of serious crimes, left-wing protesters caused property damage at offices of the conservative Swiss People's Party (SVP). Authorities arrested some of the more violent protesters and charged them with willful property damage but released them the next day. On June 16, the Federal Commission against Racism released an analysis of incidents of ethnic discrimination in 2010 indicating that most were linked to sociopolitical events, such as the antiminaret referendum in 2009 or tensions in the country's relationship with Germany. Most victims were of Sub-Saharan African descent or from Central Europe, but many were Swiss citizens.
In 2010 a network of seven counseling centers, including the National Commission against Racism, recorded 230 cases of racial discrimination. For the first half of 2011, the Foundation against Racism and anti-Semitism documented 51 cases.
In December 2010 five men attacked a man of African descent on a tram in Basel. The perpetrators poured beer over the man and assaulted him verbally.
As the victim tried to escape, the assailants punched him in the face. He suffered severe facial injuries, which required medical treatment. No arrests or investigations were reported by year's end.
During the year the four main groups actively spreading racist ideology and engaging in anti-Semitic rhetoric were Geneve Non Conforme, Europaeische Aktion, the Lega dei Ticinesi, and the Party of Nationally Oriented Swiss (PNOS).
On April 22, PNOS held its general meeting in Bern and announced its candidacy in the national elections. Party leaders adopted a platform to abolish naturalization and laws against racial discrimination. They also advocated for the country to withdraw from the UN International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
On June 24, several dozen right-wing extremists held a festival in the Canton of Neuchatel, which was attended by extremists from the region and by the Artam Brotherhood from neighboring France. Press photos of the festival showed individuals performing the Nazi salute.
The government recognized the Jenisch as a minority group with approximately 35,000 residents in the country. A lack of proper camping facilities and transit areas reportedly forced many Jenisch to occupy land illegally. Between 2007 and 2011, the federal government allocated 750,000 Swiss francs ($840,000) for measures and projects to improve living conditions for the Jenisch.
In 2010 the Roma Foundation Zurich estimated that approximately 50,000 Roma resided in the country. In 2010 the Federal Commission against Racism expressed concern about increasingly hostile attitudes against Roma and urged the cantons and municipalities to create new campsites and parking areas to eliminate systemic discrimination against them. On October 14, the NGO humanrights.ch asserted that the situation for itinerant people had not improved and that the living situation for those without permanent residence had worsened within the past two years due to cantonal and national restrictions.
The constitution provides a single nationality designation for all citizens and does not expressly recognize national, racial, or ethnic minorities. In October the EU Commission's progress report observed the country's approach to respecting and protecting minority and cultural rights remained restrictive.
The country's law is interpreted to recognize only three religious and ethnic minorities: Armenian Orthodox Christians, Jews, and Greek Orthodox Christians. Other ethnic or religious minorities, such as Alevis, Assyrians, Protestants, Roman Catholics, Caferis, Yezidis, Kurds, Arabs, Roma, Circassians, or Laz, are prohibited from fully exercising their linguistic, religious, and cultural rights, and continued to face varying levels of pressure to assimilate.
Citizens of Kurdish origin constituted a large ethnic and linguistic group. More than 15 million of the country's citizens identified themselves as of Kurdish origin and spoke Kurdish dialects. Kurds who publicly or politically asserted their Kurdish identity or promoted using Kurdish in the public domain risked censure, harassment, or prosecution. In practice children whose first language is Kurdish could not be taught in Kurdish in either private or public schools.
Restrictions remain on use of languages other than Turkish in political and public sector spheres. On March 17, the Constitutional Court rejected the request of a Turkish citizen to use a Syriac surname, stressing that the law regulating surnames was vital for national unity.
Some parents were allowed to register the birth of their children under names derived from the Kurdish language, although the letters W, X, and Q could not be used because they do not exist in the Turkish alphabet.
Some progress occurred on preserving cultural rights. In July Mardin Artuklu University began offering Syriac language courses in addition to Kurdish literature and culture courses added in 2010 under its "Living Languages Institute." In October 2010 the university began classes for its inaugural undergraduate Kurdish Language and Literature Department degree program, the country's first such undergraduate program.
There is no firm estimate of the number of Roma in the country. Roma continued to face problems with access to education, health care, and housing. In January the parliament approved removing the word "gypsy" from a discriminatory clause in the law on the movement and residence of aliens which authorized the Ministry of Interior to "expel stateless and non-Turkish gypsies and aliens that are not bound to the Turkish culture." The EU Commission's
October progress report noted steps to address long-standing problems regarding the Roma but stated a comprehensive policy to address the needs of the Roma was still missing.
In July the government employment agency (Is-Kur) started implementing three- to six-month vocational training programs for Roma in 15 provinces. The European Roma Rights Center, the Helsinki Citizens Assembly, and the Edirne Roma Culture Research and Solidarity Association conducted a program during the year to train the Romani community on civil society organization and activism. Literacy courses for Romani women offered by the Roma Culture and Solidarity Association of Izmir continued. Numerous associations celebrated International Roma Day in Ankara.
In the Sulukule neighborhood of Istanbul, redeveloped housing continued to sell for four to five times the amount that the original, mostly Romani occupants received as compensation for leaving the area. Most former residents declined the government's offer of new housing on the outskirts of the city. In Edirne
many members of the Romani community also declined the government's offer of new apartment-style housing on the grounds that it did not meet their needs.
Mistreatment of minority groups and harassment of foreigners of non-Slavic appearance remained a problem, although NGO monitors reported that hate crime incidence continued to decrease. While incitement to ethnic or religious hatred is a crime, human rights organizations stated the requirement to prove
actual intent, including proof of premeditation and intent to incite hatred, made its legal application difficult. Police and prosecutors generally prosecuted racially motivated crimes under laws against hooliganism or related offenses.
The government acknowledged that racism and ethnically motivated attacks were a problem. However, some officials continued to minimize their seriousness, maintaining that xenophobia was not a problem and violent attacks were isolated incidents. Law enforcement authorities often recommended that Africans studying in the country stay at home after dark and generally stay away from areas where young people congregate.
No official statistics were available on the number of racially motivated attacks. However, the Diversity Initiative monitoring group, a coalition of international and local NGOs headed by the IOM mission in Kyiv, reported 23 attacks involving 40 victims during the year. During the same period in 2010, seven attacks were reported. According to the Diversity Initiative, police initiated eight criminal cases in the attacks they documented during the year.
According to the Prosecutor General's Office, courts received three cases involving criminal intent to incite hatred, and investigations into three other
cases remained pending at year's end. During the year five persons were found guilty of violating the law against inciting hatred, compared with three in 2010 and four in 2009. According to the Prosecutor General's Office, four of the five people received amnesty and the fifth person was freed because of "active repentance." The IOM noted that members of law enforcement agencies are generally poorly trained on the application of the law against inciting hatred, and police generally applied laws against hooliganism to make arrests in such cases.
The criminal code provides increased penalties for hate crimes. Premeditated killing on grounds of racial, ethnic, or religious hatred carries a 10- to 15-year prison sentence. Other hate crimes can be punished by a fine from 3,400 to 8,500 hryvnias ($425 to $1,063) or up to five years in prison.
Advocacy groups asserted that police occasionally detained dark-skinned persons and subjected them to far more frequent and arbitrary document checks. At times victims of xenophobic attacks were prosecuted for acting in self-defense.
Some of the most active xenophobic groups were the unregistered Ukrainian National-Labor Party, the Patriots of Ukraine organization, the Ukrainian
Movement against Illegal Immigration, White Power-Skinhead Spektrum, the country's branch of Blood and Honor, and the World Church of the Creator Ruthenia. Such groups appeared to be marginal and poorly organized.
Roma continued to face governmental and societal discrimination. Romani rights groups estimated the country's Romani population to be between 200,000 and 400,000. Official census data placed the number at 47,600. The discrepancy was due in part to a lack of legal documentation and poor record keeping in the Romani community. According to experts, there were 200 Romani NGOs, of which two were national.
Approximately two-thirds of Roma were illiterate, 15 percent were infected with tuberculosis, and 60 percent of Romani children in Trans-Carpathia were infected with tuberculosis. One-third of Roma had no funds to pay for medicine or doctors' services.
Representatives of Romani and other minority groups claimed that police officials routinely ignored and sometimes abetted violence against Roma and referred to Romani ethnicity in crime reports. Romani rights NGOs reported several incidents in Lviv Oblast, where police entered Romani settlements, detained men, and brought them to police stations for fingerprinting and identification. According to these reports police did not identify the reason for detention or fingerprinting and mistreated the detained Roma.
There were fewer reports of government cooperation with the Romani community than in 2009. The chairman of the Roma Congress of Ukraine, Petro
Hryhorychenko, was formerly a member of the presidential council on ethnic-national policy and a member of the NGO advisory council with the SCNR.
The constitution provides for the free development, use, and protection of Russian and other minority languages. According to the Ministry of Education, 1,149 educational facilities used Russian as the main language of instruction, serving 685,806 schoolchildren. According to ministryfigures, 1,242,184 students studied Russian as a separate subject in secondary schools, and 13,147 secondary school students studied Russian as an extracurricular course.
Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar minorities in Crimea continued to complain of discrimination by the ethnic Russian majority on the peninsula and in Sevastopol. They urged that the Ukrainian and the Crimean Tatar languages be given a status equal to Russian.
As of January 1, the Crimean Republican Committee for Interethnic Relations reported that approximately 264,500 registered Crimean Tatars lived in the country, including in Crimea and in Kherson Oblast.
According to the committee, Crimean Tatars resided in 300 settlements on the Crimean Peninsula, and authorities allocated 24.9 million hryvnias ($3.1 million) for their integration during the year. Crimean Tatars asserted that discrimination by local officials deprived them of equal opportunities for employment in local administrations and that propaganda campaigns, particularly by pro-Russian groups, promoted hostility against them. On October 5,
during a meeting with the representatives of the diplomatic community of Ukraine, Mustafa Jemilev, the chairman of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, warned of increasing discrimination against Crimean Tatars. He stated that many Crimean Tatars were beginning to think that the "government considers them as second class people."
The law prohibits racial discrimination, but Travellers, as well as persons of African, Afro-Caribbean, South Asian, and Middle Eastern origin, at times reported mistreatment on racial or ethnic grounds.
On October 19, after a legal process that began in 2005, Essex police began an operation to clear an illegal Travellers' encampment at Dale Farm in Basildon, Essex. Thirty-nine protesters were arrested. Amnesty International estimated that 300 to 400 persons were evicted from the illegal settlement. Although some claimed this action was anti-Traveller, the evictions were in accordance with established legal procedures, and the Basildon Council offered alternative housing to those evicted.
In 2010/2011 the Home Office reported 2,982 racially or religiously motivated assaults with bodily harm or other injury; there were 4,058 such assaults without injury. These figures represent a 15 percent and a 6 percent decline, respectively, from 2009/2010 figures. It was frequently difficult to determine whether hate crimes had ethnic, xenophobic, or religious motives, and abuses directed at members of ethnic minorities from Muslim countries were officially reported as being "anti-Islamic."
In Scotland the August 2010 murder of a Chinese man, Simon San, continued to have a high profile. In August police issued a public apology
acknowledging their failure to investigate the attack as a racist incident. Two men convicted in the attack on San were sentenced to two years in prison, while a third was sentenced to five years. The lawyer of the victim's family said the accused would have faced tougher sentences if racial bias had been considered. However, the Crown Office stated there would be no inquiry into how prosecutors handled the case.
In Bermuda there were multiple instances of graffiti and one instance of stone throwing in July and August that were aimed at Asian and Indian migrant workers. In October several vehicles belonging to Filipinos were set ablaze. An MP and Amnesty International Bermuda condemned the acts. The Human Rights Commission responded by reminding the public that every person has equal dignity and an obligation to respect the rights of others.