Switzerland’s commitment to peace and human rights
Bern, 30.05.2008 - At its session on Friday 30 May, the Federal Council approved the 2007 Report on Measures to Promote Civilian Peacebuilding and Human Rights for the attention of the two parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committees. Last year, Switzerland again made significant contributions to protecting human beings against political violence, war and despotism, and to build bridges between conflicting parties.
In 2007, Switzerland successfully concluded the process of focusing the commitment it initiated three years earlier. It is now concentrating on a limited number of countries and regions where it can deliver added value and utilise synergies between the various involved federal authorities. This applies especially to civilian and military peacebuilding and development co-operation. Switzerland has also laid the foundation for making better use of opportunities, for example in the French-speaking region of Africa.
In the year under review, the global political climate was not particularly favourable either for peace policy or for a constructive human rights policy, not least because of increasing polarisation between countries, regions and cultures. In Colombia and Sudan, for example, the peace processes came to a standstill, while in Sri Lanka hostilities escalated again. And it also proved difficult to make any significant progress in the human rights dialogues with China and Iran.
Nonetheless, Swiss diplomacy succeeded in contributing to positive developments. The human rights dialogue with Vietnam is yielding positive results, and encouraging progress has been achieved in the peace processes in Burundi, North Uganda and Nepal. Switzerland was also able to develop successful diplomatic initiatives aimed at promoting human security. These include the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development, the institutional consolidation of the UN Human Rights Council and Switzerland’s commitment to the 30th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, in which the focus was on humanitarian policy, international humanitarian law and Geneva as a major human rights centre.
Switzerland will be able to continue pursuing its commitment to peace and human rights in the future. Last year, Parliament approved the framework credit facility for 240 million Swiss francs for at least four years from 1 July 2008, and thus provided the necessary basis for its ongoing commitment. In the year under review, 53.173 million Swiss francs were spent on measures to promote civilian peacebuilding and human rights.
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