An official report released by Switzerland’s Federal Commission on Racial Discrimination says the Swiss citizenship system is racist because it allows community members, not elected professionals, to vote on whether someone is fit to be Swiss.
The BBC reports that the system historically excludes Muslims, people from the Balkans, and Africans. Becoming Swiss is already tough; permanent residents must wait 12 years before applying, and a birth in Switzerland is no guarantee of naturalization, according to the BBC.
The report recommended changes to the citizenship balloting process, which allows villages to hear arguments from the applicant and then vote based on their religion or any other criteria.
“Swiss citizenship system ‘racist'”
BBC (U.K.), September 13, 2007