Shameful history of coercive confinement


Sir, – Further to Ian O’Donnell’s article on the 10th anniversary of the publication of the Ryan report, “Many people helped to draw the map of an Irish hell” (Opinion & Analysis, May 20th), the cruelty was international. The Swiss government also ran a system of internment in the early 20th century. Victims included the poor, alcoholics, unmarried mothers, “social rebels”, beggars, GLBT , refugees, or those who were simply judged to be “too lazy”.

As in Ireland, the Swiss government has made a public apology to victims.

Markus Notter, president of the Independent Commission of Experts regarding Administrative Internment, was quoted recently in the newspaper Le Matin Dimanche: “These people committed no crime. They simply led lives beyond the norms of the times.” The commission estimates that 60,000 people were forced into the system. – Yours, etc,


Villars sur Ollon,