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Extremist symbols: Switzerland could soon ban Nazi symbols – News


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Parliament wants to ban Nazi symbols and other extremist symbols. Now it’s the Federal Council’s turn.

It’s all about this: After the Council of States at the end of December, the National Council has now also approved a corresponding motion, according to which Nazi symbols and other extremist symbols should be banned. The National Council has supported phased implementation. This proposal comes from the Jewish umbrella organizations SIG and PLJS. In a first step, the ban on Nazi symbols will likely be examined, followed by other extremist symbols.

It is now up to the Federal Council to determine whether the step-by-step approach will be carried out: it must draw up an implementation proposal. Basically, it is about a ban on the public wearing, public display and public dissemination of racially discriminatory or extremist symbols, such as swastikas, Hitler salutes or the emblems of organizations that glorify violence such as Hezbollah or left-wing extremist groups.

Swastika prohibition sign on suitcase

Legend:

A ban on Nazi symbols will likely be considered first, followed by other extremist symbols.

IMAGO / Willi Schewski

The long way: The demand for a ban on such symbols and signs has been around for a long time. Over the past 20 years, there have been repeated initiatives with similar demands – in 2005, the National Council and the Council of States commissioned the federal government to develop a proposal for such a ban. In 2011, however, he gave a forfeit: It was not possible to find a legal formulation that was, on the one hand, concrete enough and, on the other hand, also implementable for the judiciary. To date, further attempts to ban extremist symbols have failed.

The starting point for a ban on Nazi symbols is different today than it was 20 years ago; Which is why the chances of finding a viable solution are much better today, says Bundeshaus editor Ruth Wittwer. Because: “The pressure from the Jewish community has increased, the urgency has increased.”

This is what the Federal Council says: In contrast to previous similar proposals, the Federal Council has changed its mind. Prevention alone is no longer enough today; measures are needed at the federal level. “Racially discriminatory, violent, extremist and especially National Socialist symbols have no place in our society and should not be used in public,” said Justice Minister Beat Jans.

The look abroad: National Socialist symbols are banned in Germany and Austria. Germany even wanted to introduce this ban across the EU in 2005 – in vain. Italy and Great Britain insisted on freedom of expression. The discussion was initiated by Prince Harry, who appeared at a party in a Nazi costume. Freedom of expression is also important in the USA: wearing Nazi symbols in public is allowed there, just as in Hungary. The Hungarian Constitutional Court lifted the ban in 2013 on the grounds that it violated the right to freedom of expression.

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