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 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 Human Security Division (HSD) is responsible for its implementation.

To carry out its tasks, the HSD is allocated a framework credit which must be approved by Parliament every four years along with the Dispatch on Switzerland's International Cooperation. The HSD 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.

Final report on the implementation of the Dispatch on Switzerland's international cooperation 2017–20

Final report on the implementation of the Dispatch on Switzerland's international cooperation 2017–20 - HSD Annex (PDF, 1.4 MB, English)

International cooperation strategy 2021–24: greater focus and impact

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.