The promotion of peace and human rights is a priority of Swiss foreign policy. The centrepiece of this policy is the protection of individuals and their dignity. Every human being should be able to live in peace, free of fear and need. Switzerland works not only on the ground but also in international organisations in order to make this possible.
The Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation explicitly stipulates that in its foreign relations Switzerland must promote respect for human rights and democracy and the peaceful coexistence of peoples (Art. 54).
On 1 May 2004, the Federal Act on Measures pertaining to Civil Peace Support and the Promotion of Human Rights took effect. The Peace and Human Rights Division (PHRD) is responsible for its implementation.
To carry out its tasks, the PHRD is allocated a framework credit which must be approved by Parliament every four years along with the Dispatch on Switzerland's International Cooperation. The PHRD has reviewed the impact, results and challenges of its work in the final report on the implementation of the Dispatch on Switzerland's International Cooperation 2017–20. The lessons learned from this review have been incorporated in the new dispatch for the 2021–24 period.