Peace, Security and Human Rights

The promotion of peace, security and human rights is a key priority in the Federal Council’s foreign policy strategy. It focuses on the security of the individual and protecting people against violence, war and acts of arbitrary treatment. 

Website of the FDFA’s Peace and Human Rights Division

Human Rights

Since 2011, Nigeria and Switzerland have been holding annual rounds of bilateral human rights dialogues and consultations. Thematic priorities have to date primarily been set on key civil and political rights of mutual interest, enabling constructive exchanges between the two countries on human rights challenges and best practices, both domestically and in the multilateral fora. This dialogue has enabled a more intense diplomatic activity and profiling of Switzerland in the field of human security and human rights, both with the Nigerian authorities and in coordination with the international community.

The human rights dialogues are complemented by technical support, in the form of operational projects carried out in partnership with Nigerian government agencies, parastatals and/or civil society organizations. To date, projects in Nigeria have mainly focused on issues revolving around human rights and security forces, access to justice,  the fostering female rights in rural areas (Kano) as well as  general human rights awareness.

Main Nigerian partners include, among others, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Human Rights Commission, the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigerian Prisons Service, and a number of civil society organizations.

Switzerland’s engagement for Human Rights

Peace and Security

Peace and security is one of the focus areas of Switzerland’s foreign policy strategy. Within the framework of the “Sub-Saharan Africa Strategy 2021-2024” the Sahel section – inclusive of Nigeria – states that Switzerland contributes to the resolution of conflicts through its civilian and military peacebuilding activities. It promotes political dialogue with all actors and seeks to prevent terrorism, violent extremism and cross-border crime. This is implemented through the provision of technical and methodological competences, financial support, as well as by supporting the strengthening of capacities based on local expertise and know-how available in the region.

In addition to providing its good offices for inclusive and solution-oriented dialogue / mediation processes, Switzerland also contributes to preventive efforts – for instance in the field of ideologically driven violent extremism or around elections – as well as post-conflict stabilization engagements, for instance in the field of dealing with the past and prevention of atrocities. These activities require a diversified and complementary collaboration with governments, civil society and international organizations, as well as support to Nigerian and West African networks of peace actors.

Due to limited human and financial capacities, and in coherence with its other regional activities in neighboring Sahelian countries, Switzerland’s above-mentioned bilateral peace and security-related engagements in Nigeria focus mainly – though not exclusively – on the country’s North East / Lake Chad Basin area. A Senior Political Adviser based in Abuja is responsible for overall implementation of the program.

Switzerland’s engagement towards peace and security

Sub-Saharan Africa Strategy 2021-2024 

Human Security in ECOWAS

Being the Swiss Representation accredited to the ECOWAS Commission, the Embassy actively follows developments in the West Africa sub-region from a political, peace and security perspective.

ECOWAS Official Website

Pathways to Abolition of the Death Penalty

The universal abolition of the death penalty is one of Switzerland's foreign policy priorities. Capital punishment has no proven deterrent effect, it does not foster reconciliation, and it should be regarded as a form of torture. In addition to multilateral efforts and support for local projects, Switzerland addresses this issue at regular intervals through its bilateral dialogues with all countries that continue to apply the death penalty.

While there is no universal blueprint, every country comes to abolition in its own way and on its own timeline. Pathways to abolition rely on a combination of factors, including (1) harnessing the momentum of the global trend towards abolition, with now over two thirds of the world’s countries having given up on using the death penalty (2) engaging political decision-makers and parliamentary allies in moving ahead towards abolition (3) restricting or suspending the death penalty, where it is still applied; (4) enhancing advocacy and explaining to the public at large the unbearable risks and failures of capital punishment.