Human Security Division

The Human Security Division is responsible within the FDFA for the promotion of peace and human rights as set out in the Federal Council’s foreign policy strategy. This focuses on the security of individuals and protecting people from violence, war and despotism.

In order to perform its tasks in the fields of peacebuilding and human rights as part of the Federal Council’s foreign policy strategy, the FDFA’s Human Security Division (HSD) is allocated a framework credit which has to be re-authorised by Parliament every four years.

The division has seven sections:

  • Peace Policy I, II, III and Multilateral Peace Policy
  • Human Rights Policy
  • Humanitarian Policy and Migration
  • Swiss Expert Pool for Civilian Peacebuilding (SEP)

The four sections (Peace Policy I, II and III, Multilateral Peace Policy) focus on the prevention and resolution of violent conflict as well as ensuring lasting peace. Their core competencies include mediation and electoral support. Their main spheres of activity are conflict prevention and peacebuilding, in particular as part of international organisations, such as the UN, and supporting corresponding initiatives. They also include the fight against illicit small arms and anti-personnel mines as well as the disarmament and demobilisation of former soldiers and their reintegration into society.

The sections also deal with matters concerning religion, conflict and politics and are responsible for the coordination of the Geneva centres.

The Human Rights Policy section works at bilateral and multilateral level to promote respect for human rights.

The Humanitarian Policy and Migration section endeavours to ensure better protection of the civilian population in armed conflicts and humane refugee and migration policy, and to combat human trafficking.

The Swiss Expert Pool for Civilian Peacebuilding (SEP) provides volunteers as experts for bilateral and multilateral projects where required.

The HSD management is supported by the staff office where the equal opportunities, strategic auditing and knowledge management units are also based. The HSD holds an annual conference each autumn on one of its spheres of activity.

Working to abolish the death penalty

The ambassador for human rights policy issues is primarily responsible for Swiss efforts towards the abolition of the death penalty and human rights dialogue in Asia.

The Task Force for Dealing with the Past and Prevention of Atrocities is responsible for ensuring the FDFA pursues a coherent and consistent strategy in the fields of coming to terms with the past and the prevention of genocide and atrocities.