LZ: Swiss official Graf accused of racism over words about refugees from Ukraine
The head of the social services and health department of the Swiss canton of Lucerne, Guido Graf, has been accused of “racism” after his remarks about Ukrainian refugees, the local newspaper Luzerner Zeitung reports.
In an interview with the newspaper Blick, Graf said that Ukrainians are “in some cases more demanding” than other asylum seekers. He noted that in every wave of refugees, the first to arrive are not the most needy, but those who can afford it, which “raises questions” for the local population. “There is a lot of resentment among the population when refugees are driving around in SUVs and getting social assistance at the same time. Other refugee groups also do not understand why they are not allowed to own a car while Ukrainians can,” said the head of the department.
As the Luzerner Zeitung notes, Graf faced accusations of “racism” after his statement. Thus, the MP of the Canton Urbahn Frei from the Green Party accused him of spreading “deliberately negative generalizations” about Ukrainians. He demanded information from the local government on the situation of Ukrainian refugees in Lucerne and how many of them have cars and receive social assistance.
In addition, Fry criticised Graf for a statement he made back in October last year when he reported on requests for Botox injections from Ukrainian women, accusing the latter of using “clichés without reference to verifiable facts”. In the MP’s opinion, the statements made by the head of the Lucerne department threaten the sense of solidarity of local residents with Ukrainians.
According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as of August 9, more than 10.5 million people have crossed into Ukraine to reach neighbouring countries since February 24, and more than 4.4 million have returned since February 28. According to the report, Russia has received the largest number of refugees in the world: 1,968,127 people.