The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

The Other Swiss Referendum

December 14, 2009

Recently Switzerland got a lot of press over the results of its referendum on religious architecture. But almost no coverage globally of another ballot measure last month: an initiative to ban the export of military weapons abroad. The initiative was voted down by more than a 2/3 majority on the same day as the minaret ban, according to SwissInfo:

Official results show 68.2 per cent of voters against the initiative and 31.5 per cent for. Turnout was above average, at 53 per cent.

It’s ironic that activists in a country where neutrality is so much a part of national identity would have so much trouble drumming up support for such a policy.

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Charli Carpenter is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She is the author of 'Innocent Women and Children': Gender, Norms and the Protection of Civilians (Ashgate, 2006), Forgetting Children Born of War: Setting the Human Rights
Agenda in Bosnia and Beyond (Columbia, 2010), and ‘Lost’ Causes: Agenda-Setting in Global Issue Networks and the Shaping of Human Security (Cornell, 2014). Her main research interests include national security ethics, the protection of civilians, the laws of war, global agenda-setting, gender and political violence, humanitarian affairs, the role of information technology in human security, and the gap between intentions and outcomes among advocates of human security.