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Swiss to Vote on Hate Laws

Switzerland will hold a public referendum in September on whether to enact legislation that will make it a crime to discriminate against ethnic groups or incite racial hatred.

A year ago, Swiss legislators passed the law, but a drive by right-wing groups has succeeded in putting the measure to a popular vote, scheduled for Sept. 25.

In seeking the referendum, extremist groups have argued that social persuasion, rather than coercive legislation, is the more effective way to promote tolerance.

The Swiss League to Combat Racism and Anti-Semitism has already launched a campaign to prepare Swiss public opinion for a favorable vote.