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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 17 November 2018

Swiss migrants have greater faith in state institutions than native born citizens 

Figures contradict belief that migrants keep their distance from Switzerland

The view over Lake Geneva and the Jet d'Eau. Courtesy Beau-Rivage
The view over Lake Geneva and the Jet d'Eau. Courtesy Beau-Rivage

A survey of Swiss attitudes to state institutions has found that residents with a migrant background have a significantly higher trust rating than native born citizens.

Ahead of the country’s national day on August 1, Switzerland’s Federal Statistics office released findings of the annual survey of attitudes of the two groups.

Despite the rise of a right-wing anti-migration party, the Swiss People’s Party to become the country’s biggest political force, Swiss from a migrant background were more confident in the political system by a margin of 47 per cent compared to 36 per cent.

The justice system and the courts gains the trust of almost three in five from an immigrant background but just over two in five of the native born Swiss.

The police perform best of all the institutions with over 65 per cent of migrant-origin respondents positive and 62 per cent of the rest backing the forces.

“The figures contradict the widely-believed thesis that many migrants deliberately kept their distance from Switzerland,” said the newspaper Tages Anzeiger. “Those who do not want to integrate do not trust the institutions. Many immigrants came here just because politics, justice and police are not trustworthy in their homeland. In Switzerland, they often have more interaction with the authorities than the 'original Swiss'. They also have to overcome higher hurdles. All the more gratifying that they nevertheless trust them strongly.”

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Meanwhile across the border in Italy a spate of suspected racist attacks is hogging the headlines.

A high profile victim of a suspected racist attack Daisy Osakue is a 22-year-old discus thrower who was born in Italy to Nigerian parents.

She suffered injuries to her eye after an object was thrown at her from a car. Miss Osakue believes the incident was racially motivated and could impede her ability to compete in the European Championship in Berlin next week. She used her Instagram account to send a message over the issue on Tuesday.

"You will never meet two absolutely identical faces, no matter the beauty or ugliness: these are relative things, each face is a symbol of life, and all lives deserves respect, it is by treating others with dignity that one gains respect for oneself."

Since the attack she has spoken by phone to Matteo Salvini, the Interior minister, whose rise to office last month has raised tensions within Italian communities.

Mr Salvini and the new populist government has orchestrated an anti-immigration crackdown since coming to power. However violence against migrants has risen as well.

A Moroccan man was killed in a small village south of Rome last week after being chased by people who suspected him of robbery. A few days earlier 19-year-old Senegalese migrant was beaten by a group of youths who yelled racist slurs in the Sicilian city of Palermo.

Mr Salvini publicly wished Miss Osakue a speedy recovery but also pointed to criminality among migrants.

"Any aggression will be punished and condemned. I will always be at the side of those who suffer violence," he said. "There are about 700 crimes committed every day in Italy by immigrants, almost a third of the total number, and this is the only real emergency that I am fighting against as minister."