Bern, 23 September 2022
At its meeting on 23 September 2022, the Federal Council adopted Switzerland’s fourth national report under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The report is due to be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council in October. The UPR is an important international mechanism of the United Nations for monitoring the human rights situation worldwide.
The report provides an overview of the human rights situation in Switzerland, which is generally very good. It lists the main steps that Switzerland has taken since the last report five years ago to target specific shortcomings and challenges.
Under the UPR (Universal Periodic Review), the human rights situation in each of the UN member states is reviewed by the other member states every five years. This peer review process is one of the main instruments that the UN Human Rights Council uses to monitor the human rights situation around the world. The outcome of each review is a set of recommendations to improve the protection of human rights in specific areas, review current legislation and close gaps.
Creation of a national human rights institution
Switzerland’s current report discusses its implementation of the 160 recommendations it adopted following its third review in 2017. In addition to the measures taken and progress since the last report, it also highlights the challenges that Switzerland still faces in certain areas.
Recommendations implemented in Switzerland during the fourth review period concern the right to asylum, protection against domestic violence and equality for LGBTIQ people. Another major step in this review period, in October 2021 the Swiss Parliament voted in favour of the creation of an independent national human rights institution (NHRI) in Switzerland. The NHRI, which replaces the pilot project of the Swiss Centre of Expertise in Human Rights (SCHR), will begin its work in 2023. The Federal Council welcomes the support of this new institution in ensuring the fulfilment of human rights obligations in Switzerland.
A broad consultation among federal, cantonal and civil society actors
Switzerland’s national reports under the UPR are always the result of a broad-based consultation that includes the federal and cantonal authorities, extra-parliamentary commissions and civil society actors. Two public events were held in the lead-up to the fourth report with representatives of the federal, cantonal and municipal administrations, universities and civil society. Switzerland’s participation in the UPR process helps both to improve the human rights situation in Switzerland and to strengthen dialogue among the numerous actors involved in the fulfilment of human rights.
Source – Swiss Government