National report and action plan on business and human rights

Press release, 09.12.2016

On 9 December 2016 the Federal Council adopted a report outlining a national action plan for the implementation of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Switzerland is one of the first countries to adopt such a strategy in order to promote coherence between business activities and human rights.

The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, adopted by the Human Rights Council in June 2011, rest on three pillars:
- The central duty of the state to protect human rights;
- The responsibility of companies to respect human rights;
- The obligation to provide appropriate and effective remedies in the event of human rights abuses committed by companies.

The UN Guiding Principles establish a foundation for regulating various business activities from a human rights perspective.
The Federal Council’s report was drawn up in response to the parliamentary postulate 12.3503, which was submitted in June 2012 by National Council member Alec von Graffenried. The strategy focuses on the duty of the state to protect human rights and provide access to remedies. It contains 50 instruments aimed at ensuring that Swiss companies operating in Switzerland and abroad respect human rights, for example by including the topic of business and human rights in political consultations and ensuring that
Swiss representations abroad raise companies’ awareness of the issue.
The report was drawn up following a broad consultation process involving the private sector, non-governmental organisations, social partners, the academic community and research institutes. The measures proposed in the strategy are set to be implemented on a four-year basis synchronized with the legislative periods.

Report (fr)(pdf, 491kb)

Address for enquiries:

FDFA Information
Tel. +41 31 322 31 53

Ambassador Jean-Jacques Elmiger
SECO, Labour Directorate, International Labour Affairs
Tel. +41 58 462 28 87


The Federal Council
Federal Department of Foreign Affairs