Switzerland. In May, Switzerland was shaken by the murder
of former downhill star Corinne Rey-Bellet, who was shot
dead in her parents' home by her husband. According to
brother was also killed and their mother was shot dead. Her
husband, from whom Rey-Bellet had just separated, committed
suicide. The tragedy brought to life a debate about the
wisdom of Swiss men storing military weapons in their homes.
Critics consider this to be a contributing reason why
suicide and homicide within the family are common in
Switzerland. Requirements were raised that at least the
ammunition should be stored in central warehouses instead.
But Parliament decided, at least for the time being, not to
take a stand on the issue.
More than two-thirds of Swiss voters voted in a
referendum in September for stricter asylum laws presented
by the government. With the new law it became, among other
things, possible to reject asylum seekers without ID
documents directly. UNHCR UNHCR criticized the rule on the
grounds that many refugees have been barred from obtaining
passports precisely because of persecution. The proposal by
Minister of Justice Christoph Blocher of the Conservative
Swiss People's Party meant that asylum laws in Switzerland
became among the most stringent in Europe.
The crisis in Eastern Europe removed the possibility of
an armed conflict with the Soviet Union, reinforcing the
tendency towards European integration. In May 1992, a
referendum was adopted by Switzerland to join the IMF and
the World Bank. In June 1993, 57.2% of Swiss voted for a
proposal to modernize the armed forces. At the same time, a
proposal was made to incorporate Swiss troops into UN
peacekeepers. This was a major change in traditional Swiss
neutrality policy. But a majority of Swiss voted against
this proposal in a 1994 referendum.
One of the main obstacles to Swiss integration in the EU
lay in the free movement of labor between countries. That
same year, an anti-racist law punishing discrimination was
passed by referendum, along with another law that allowed
police to be more harsh on illegal immigrants who committed
crime in the country. This was criticized and regarded as a
violation of the Swiss Constitution and of the European
Convention on Human Rights.
On October 4 and 5, 1992, the country was affected when
53 people who were members of a sect called the Sun Temple
committed suicide in Switzerland and Quebec.
In the election on October 22, 1995, the Social Democrats
obtained 54 seats, the Radicals got 45, the Christian
Democrats 34, the Swiss People's Party 29 and the Greens 9.
A study by the government on unemployment has predicted a
sharp decline in 2000. If the annual growth in gross
domestic product (GDP) does not fall below 2.25%, that year
unemployment will affect only 60,000 people, instead of
192,000 in 1996.
In July 1997, Swiss banks - after private and
international pressure - published the accounts of holders
since World War II - the majority of whom belonged to Jews
killed under Nazism. The Jewish World Congress, which
insisted most on publication requirements, said that the
presentation was merely a symbolic gesture, after fifty
years of exploitation.