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Swiss Bishops’ Conference opposes ballot measure on deportation of immigrants

February 02, 2016

Swiss voters will go to the polls on February 28 to decide whether to approve a ballot initiative that would lead to the automatic deportation of foreigners convicted of any crime.

The justice and peace commission of the Swiss Bishops’ Conference has joined the nation’s government in speaking out against the measure.

“It treats in exactly the same manner a murderer and someone who breaks a gate to steal a bicycle,” said Simonetta Sommaruga, the nation’s justice minister.

Charging that the measure measure violates international law and the principle of proportionality, the justice and peace commission called it “unnecessary, disrespectful, and unjust.”

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  • Posted by: Babolin - Feb. 04, 2016 7:36 AM ET USA

    The Swiss Bishops may say what they want but are not properly informed. The conflict between popular willingness and an opposing, self-proclaimed elite is pushed, in Switzerland, to a form of institutional crisis. For opponents of the bill, remove the hardship clause is contrary to the principle of proportionality of justice. It's wrong. Swiss criminal law is filled with provisions providing for minimum sentences, binding the judges. So will the expulsions as other sanctions: it is not in principle but in their duration that proportionality must be respected. On acceptance of the draft constitutional law, the judge must justify the duration of the expulsion, depending on the gravity of the act. There are permit withdrawals – driving licenses, for example - that fall on citizens with a brutal automatism. And I do not hear anybody screaming that the Swiss project "Via sicura" violates fundamental rights or international law.