National human rights institution to be established in Switzerland

On 1 October 2021, the Swiss Parliament adopted a plan to create a national human rights institution (NHRI) in Switzerland, to replace the pilot project of the Swiss Centre of Expertise for Human Rights (SCHR) with a permanent institution for the protection and promotion of human rights in Switzerland. The SCHR ended its activities on 31 December 2022, and the Swiss Human Rights Institution was created on 23 May 2023.

Working group

In order to carry out the preparatory work necessary for the creation of the Swiss Human Rights Institution (SHRI, a working group made up of representatives of the Confederation, extra-parliamentary committees, cantons, civil society and the business world was set up in spring 2022. The working group was coordinated by the DFA (Peace and Human Rights Division). As part of the process of establishing the Institution, the working group met ten times in 2022 and 2023. It drew up draft statutes for the GDI and convened the constituent assembly.

Members of the NHRI working group

  • Christine Löw (Koordination), Deputy Head of Division, Peace and Human Rights Division (PHRD), FDFA
  • Doris Angst, Vice President, SCHR Advisory Committee
  • Cordelia Ehrich, Legal Officer, Federal Office of Justice (FOJ), FDJP
  • Bettina Fredrich, Head, Federal Commission for Women's Issues (FCWI)
  • Ulrich E. Gut, President, Unser Recht
  • Erich Herzog, Member of the Executive Board, economiesuisse
  • Caroline Hess-Klein, Deputy Administrative Director, Inclusion Handicap
  • Matthias Hui, Coordinator of the Platform of Swiss NGOs for Human Rights
  • Michael Ineichen, Head of Advocacy, Amnesty International
  • Amina Joubli, Scientific Officer, State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), EAER, replaced since April 2023 by Lia Ferrini, Scientific Officer, State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), EAER
  • Claudia Kaufmann, Former Ombudsperson of the City of Zurich
  • Regula Mader, President, National Commission for the Prevention of Torture (NCPT), replaced since April 2023 by Livia Hadorn, Administrative Director, National Commission for the Prevention of Torture (NCPT)
  • Andreas Rieder, Head, Federal Office for Equality for People with Disabilities (FOED), FDHA
  • Dea Rolih, Deputy Head of Foreign Policy, Conference of Cantonal Governments (CdC) replaced since March 2023 by Patrick Matthey, Deputy Information Officer of the Cantons to the FDFA, Conference of Cantonal Governments (CdC)
  • Christoph Spenlé, Deputy Head of Section, Human Rights Section, Directorate of Public International Law (DDIP), FDFA
  • Evelyne Sturm, Administrative Director, Swiss Centre of Expertise in Human Rights (SCHR), replaced since March 2023 by Jörg Künzli, Director, Swiss Centre of Expertise in Human Rights (SCHR)

Constitutive assembly

The SHRI's constitutive assembly took place in Berne on 23 May 2023 in the presence of more than one hundred members and representatives of the Confederation and the cantons. The constitutive assembly adopted the institution's articles of association and elected the executive committee and the president, Raphaela Cueni. It also chose the auditors and set the membership fees. The executive committee is currently working on getting the institution up and running.

The articles of association state that "individuals and legal entities that engage in work to protect and promote human rights" (art. 6(1)) may become members of the SHRI. Applications for membership can be sent to Raphaela Cueni, President of the SHRI, at the following email address:

Constitutive assembly on 23 May 2023


Invitation NHRI (fr) (PDF, 2 Pages, 793.3 kB, French)

Articles of association  (PDF, 6 Pages, 244.8 kB, English)


Members of the ISDH Committee

  • President: Raphaela Cueni, Assistant Professor of Administrative Law, University of St. Gallen
  • Véronique Boillet, Associate Professor of Public Law, University of Lausanne
  • Antonio Hautle, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact Network Switzerland & Liechtenstein
  • Marianne Hochuli, former member of the management of Caritas Switzerland
  • Matthias Hui, former coordinator of the Platform of Swiss NGOs for Human Rights (
  • Xenia Rivkin, lawyer and member of the Human Rights Commission of the Geneva Bar Association


Institution suisse des droits humains (ISDH)
Av. Beauregard 1 
1700 Fribourg 

Last update 04.10.2023

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