Peace and human rights

Image of the Armillary Sphere before the Palais des Nations, Geneva
The Globe sculpture on the grounds of the Palais des Nations in Geneva. © FDFA, Presence Switzerland

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 coexistenceof peoples (Art. 54). To carry out this task, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) is allocated a framework credit which must be approved by Parliament every four years along with the Dispatch on Switzerland's International Cooperation.

The legal basis for this is the Federal Act on Measures pertaining to Civil Peace Support and the Promotion of Human Rights, which was adopted by the National Council and Council of States in 2003 and took effect on 1 May 2004. Within the FDFA, the Human Security Division (HSD) is responsible for its implementation.

Human Security Division

Peace policy

The HSD works to ensure that conflicts are settled by peaceful means.

Human rights policy

The HSD works to ensure that human rights are respected and provides states with support in implementing them.

Humanitarian policy

The HSD works to ensure the protection of civilians during and after conflicts, crises and natural disasters.

Foreign policy on migration

The HSD works to ensure the effective protection of displaced persons and migrants. It promotes a policy on migration based on respect for human dignity and combats human trafficking.

Swiss Expert Pool for Civilian Peacebuilding

The HSD deploys experts on civilian peacekeeping missions.