Bilateral relations

In its bilateral relations, Switzerland discusses human rights issues in principle with all countries and at all levels. With certain states, Switzerland conducts human rights dialogues or human rights consultations. Switzerland's external network (embassies, cooperation offices and consulates) plays a key role in analysing the human rights situation in the host country and conducting dialogue on human rights issues with the host state and local society stakeholders.

Multilateral relations

Multilaterally, Switzerland advocates for the realisation of human rights in the various UN bodies concerned, in particular the UN Human Rights Council, the UN General Assembly, and the organs of the Economic and Social Council. Within these forums, Switzerland actively participates in debates on human rights issues and in negotiations on thematic or country-specific resolutions. Switzerland also launches its own diplomatic initiatives. Switzerland's successful diplomatic initiatives include the establishment of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva (2006). In addition, Switzerland works within the frameworks of the Council of Europe and the OSCE for the realisation of human rights. 

To promote human rights worldwide, Switzerland implements concrete projects in cooperation with international and national actors. Switzerland empowers actors working to promote human rights and recognises the role of civil society actors in realising human rights. It advocates for their empowerment. In the context of international cooperation, strengthening human rights is either an objective (sub-objective 9 of the International Cooperation Strategy 2021–24) or is taken into account when the SDC applies its human rights-based approach in implementing projects.

Within the FDFA, the State Secretariat is responsible for coordinating Switzerland's human rights diplomacy. The Directorate of International Law ensures Switzerland's human rights obligations under international law are respected.

Last update 03.01.2023

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