No development without human rights

Rohingya children playing with a doll at a refugee camp in Bangladesh.
The SDC gives high priority to protecting the rights of vulnerable groups such as the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. © Anna Dubuis / DFID

Sustainable development is only possible if fundamental human rights principles such as non-discrimination, participation, and the rule of law are respected. These rights form the basis of international cooperation. This is why the promotion of human rights is a key issue for the SDC.

SDC focus

The realization of human rights is a foreign policy objective anchored in the Federal Constitution. Swiss human rights foreign policy focuses on the following three priorities:

  • The protection and promotion of civil and political rights, for example access to justice free of discrimination and participation in political processes
  • The protection and promotion of economic, social and cultural rights, such as the right to education or health
  • The protection of the rights of especially vulnerable groups.

The SDC contributes to the implementation of the human rights policy by promoting the rights of the poor and supporting governments in their efforts to respect, protect and promote these rights. SDC's programmes on fighting poverty actively promote human rights.

Working with the human rights approach

The SDC works with a human-rights-based approach. In addition to international standards, which give legitimacy to development cooperation, the SDC promotes the following human rights principles:

  • Equal rights and non-discrimination
  • Participation and support in asserting human rights (empowerment)
  • Responsibility for human rights violations, accountability and redress
  • Indivisibility and universality.

The SDC undertakes to systematically include questions of rights, for example in the fields of migration or labour law, in its programmes in all its partner countries. It uses a human rights approach to help people ("rights holders") to exercise and demand their rights. At the same time, it assists state and non-state institutions ("duty bearers") in their efforts to adhere to their obligation to ensure respect for and the protection of human rights.

Strengthening state institutions and promoting the rights of vulnerable groups

Fragility, armed conflicts and human rights violations – which tend to become mutually reinforcing like in a vicious cycle – hinder the fight against poverty. In most cases, fragile states cannot guarantee basic services, including protection against human rights violations. For this reason, the SDC helps its partner countries strengthen their state structures, thus enabling them to better fulfil their human rights obligations.

In Tajikistan, for example, the SDC supports reforms to strengthen rights-assistance services, the main beneficiaries of which are women whose husbands have gone to other countries to work. In Albania, with the assistance of the SDC, a comprehensive and sustainable social-protection system has been put in place to improve the social integration of the Roma community. In Bolivia, the SDC supports the national ombudsman's office for human rights, and seeks to address the concerns of the indigenous populations. In Afghanistan, the SDC assists women's organisations, and in Honduras it helps protect human rights defenders.

With these projects, the SDC promotes the rights of vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, strengthens civil society and promotes the establishment of state institutions.

Examining states' human rights commitment

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the most important human rights conventions of the United Nations together form a broad-based regulatory framework for international human rights protection. One of the strengths of this frame of reference is its universality: human rights are valid worldwide. The majority of states have ratified the most important human rights conventions. Nevertheless, many states do not adhere to their obligations.

For this reason, the UN has set up a number of monitoring mechanisms. In the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the UN Human Rights Council, the UN member states are obliged to report regularly on their current domestic human rights situation. Through the UPR, civil society now has a voice at the international level and can reach the general public. The SDC supports these efforts. For example, it has enabled Pakistani journalists to express their positions on the Pakistani government's state report. In Afghanistan, it supports the justice ministry in implementing the UN's recommendations.

Current projects

Object 49 – 60 of 60

UN Women Geneva Liaison Office

01.09.2016 - 31.12.2020

This contribution aims at helping UN Women establish a Liaison Office in Geneva through the funding of the first two years of the post of Head of Office. The Liaison Office will expand and deepen UN Women’s strategic engagement with Geneva-based stakeholders to strengthen gender integration in their operational activities. It will also influence intergovernmental processes for the full realisation of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls and their human rights by 2030.


Renforcement d’IDEA phase Unique (RIDEAU)

01.08.2016 - 31.12.2018

Le programme d’IDEA en Haïti vise le renforcement des institutions (p. ex. Parlement) et des acteurs politiques (p. ex. partis), piliers institutionnels de  l’état de droit. Ce faisant IDEA contribue à bâtir une gouvernance nationale respectueuse de la participation citoyenne et paritaire entre les femmes et les hommes. La DDC apporte une contribution générale à IDEA avec un suivi particulier sur la participation politiques des femmes et sur les pratiques de reddition des comptes. 


Strengthening citizen rights and participation in Nicaragua

01.08.2016 - 31.12.2020

SDC and other like-minded donors are engaged in enhancing the democratic and public policy processes in Nicaragua. A strong civil society is essential to the quality and sustainability of this effort. The current political context drastically reduces public policy dialogues spaces. The proposed programme will promote citizen participation, strengthen capacities among Civil Society Organizations and foster informed policy dialogue.


Strengthening the legislative in Africa through an institutional partnership with AWEPA

15.04.2016 - 15.04.2020

A travers un partenariat institutionnel avec AWEPA, la DDC contribue à promouvoir la paix et la stabilité dans les Grands Lacs en renforçant les capacités des institutions législatives et en soutenant les échanges entre parlementaires de la région, européens et suisses. Le Forum des parlementaires de la CIRGL[1], qui sert de pont avec les parlements nationaux dans la mise en œuvre, manque encore de capacités. Ce projet contribue au renforcement du Forum et à la mise en œuvre du Pacte[2] et permet une promotion de la bonne gouvernance au plus haut niveau.  

[1] Conférence Internationale pour la région des Grands Lacs, mis en place en 2000 par 11 pays de la région pour la médiation, la prévention et le règlement des conflits. 

[2] Pacte pour la paix, la sécurité, la stabilité et le développement signé par les 11 pays membres de la CIRGL.

 

 


Contribution to the Cotton Reform Multi-Donors Trust Fund of the World Bank in Uzbekistan

01.09.2015 - 30.09.2020

The World Bank led multi-donor trust fund will contribute to a sustainable cotton reform by thoroughly monitoring child and forced labour during cotton harvest, building the capacities of relevant authorities in terms of international standards and legislaion, raising awareness of the population and the stakeholders' groups involved in cotton picking. This will feed into policy dialogue with the Government and eventually eradicate this harmful practice for the rural population.


Handicap International: Comprehensive action against Antipersonnel Mines (APM) and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) in three departments of Colombia.

01.08.2015 - 31.05.2017

The five decades running armed conflict in Colombia continues to cause humanitarian needs such as internal displacement, landmine contamination and the recruitment of minors by armed groups. Departments of Nariño, Cauca and Cordoba, by geography serve as strategic corridor to the Pacific and Caribe for the cultivation, production and trafficking of drugs, weapons and illegal mining among others, becoming scenario of social conflicts and armed confrontation. Rural communities in those departments are among the most affected by antipersonnel mines (APM) and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) which generate victims with poor access to physical and psychosocial services, as well as option for social, economic and educational inclusion.


Strengthening of civil-political-economic rights and social auditing

01.07.2015 - 30.04.2020

In Honduras, strengthening Human Rights (HR), transparency, and the fight against impunity are central to breaking out of the spiral of violence. The role of civil society constitutes an opportunity and at the same time a means to contribute to the construction of Rule of Law. The program supports five civil society organizations (CSO) and the UNDP, with presence in the southern region and Muskitia, so they can work together to promote social audits and protection of Human Rights.


WFP Secondment Protection and Gender Advisor

01.06.2015 - 31.12.2016

In Myanmar especially conflict affected and rural populations suffer from moderate to severe malnutrition; but also extreme weather conditions may increase the situation of food insecurity. In recent years there have been reports on protection gaps in the implementation of WFP programmes and women and children are struggling to receive support. The secondment will provide technical support in the domain of protection and gender to the WFP country program.


RCA: UNICEF Sous-cluster protection de l’enfance

01.06.2015 - 30.06.2017

Par son appui financier au Sous-cluster protection de l’enfance, la DDC souhaite contribuer au renforcement du système de coordination en RCA, pour assurer une réponse de protection coordonnée pour les enfants affectés par la crise. Ce soutien rentre par ailleurs dans le cadre de la stratégie de la protection de civils (PoC), et plus spécifiquement dans le plan d’action du DFAE pour la protection des enfants associés aux forces et groupes armés.


Alternative Nobel Prize

01.05.2015 - 30.04.2020

The Right Livelihood Award (RLA) or so-called “Alternative Nobel Prize” is bestowed to individuals that offer concrete solutions to global challenges including sustainable development and poverty eradication. The contribution of SDC aims to establish a second RLA Foundation office in Geneva which will allow the RLA Foundation and the laureates to reach out and better network with the Geneva-based UN organizations, civil society, research community and media.


PEGIN - Promoción de la Equidad de Género con Incidencia Nacional

01.04.2015 - 30.06.2021

Formada por seis organizaciones cubanas la plataforma PEGIN busca incidir en políticas nacionales para promover procesos políticos y sociales a favor de la igualdad de género y para evitar que las reformas actuales no crean nuevas discriminaciones. Además, el proyecto contribuye a incorporar los principios de igualdad de género en todo el programa de COSUDE (transversalización).


Governance Facility (GF)

01.10.2014 - 30.06.2020

People in Nepal still suffer from weak public accountability, lack of rule of law and prevailing impunity. Switzerland, Denmark and DFID have established a sector-wide multi-donor basket facility to support public and private institutions in the governance sector, aiming at improving the rule of law, access to justice for marginalized men and women, the protection of human rights and at strengthening public accountability mechanisms for the most vulnerable people in Nepal.

Object 49 – 60 of 60