Peace and Human Rights Division

The FDFA's Peace and Human Rights Division (PHRD) is responsible for the promotion of peace and human rights as set out 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. The PHRD is part of the State Secretariat.

In order to carry out its tasks, the division is allocated a framework credit which has to be re-authorised by Parliament every four years.

The division has eight sections:

Peace and Human Rights – Geographical:

  • Peace – Europe, Asia and Latin America
  • Peace – Africa
  • Peace – MENA
  • Mediation and Themes

Peace and Human Rights – Thematic:

  • Expert Pool for Civilian Peacebuilding
  • Humanitarian Diplomacy
  • Forced Displacement and Migration
  • Human Rights Diplomacy

Peace

The PHRD’s four geographical sections focus on the prevention and resolution of violent conflict and efforts to ensure lasting peace. Their core competences include the provision of good offices, in particular mediation and facilitation, support for electoral and democratic processes, dealing with the past, and the prevention of atrocities and violent extremism. Each section implements the corresponding strategies and helps draw up international guidelines and standards. Together with partner organisations, they offer training courses, support local initiatives and provide political, technical and financial support. The frist three sections are each responsible for a geographical focus region; the fourth section has a thematic remit.

Peace

Human Rights Diplomacy

The Human Rights Diplomacy Section works to ensure worldwide respect for human rights. It implements the FDFA's human rights strategy, engages in human rights dialogue with specific states and promotes the mutual secondment of experts. It works closely with civil society organisations on the ground in order to achieve real improvements in human rights. It also implements the action plan for the worldwide abolition of the death penalty.

Human rights diplomacy

Humanitarian Diplomacy

The Humanitarian Diplomacy Section focuses on the protection of the civilian population in armed conflicts and displaced persons. It helps to draw up and further develop international standards. It implements strategies to combat the illicit trade in small arms and anti-personnel mines and for the disarmament and demobilisation of former soldiers – especially child soldiers – and their reintegration into society.

Humanitarian diplomacy

Forced Displacement and Migration

The Forced Displacement and Migration Section works to ensure policy on refugees and migration is based on respect for human dignity, and promotes efforts to combat human trafficking. In particular, it takes part in the development of international guidelines and standards.

Forced Displacement and Migration 

Swiss Expert Pool for Civilian Peacebuilding (SEP)

The SEP provides experts for bilateral and multilateral projects, international peace missions and election observation missions. Switzerland's participation in the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine is a case in point.

Swiss Expert Pool for Civilian Peacebuilding