National conference on gender-based violence

Bern, 22.11.2013 - Domestic violence, genital mutilation, forced marriage and human trafficking: Gender-based violence exists in various forms and occurs in all countries. In Switzerland, on average one person is killed in incidents involving domestic violence every two weeks, two out of three victims are women. At a conference today co-hosted by the Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA) and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), some 180 specialists from all parts of Switzerland have met in Bern to share experiences and discuss the opportunities and challenges of international agreements for Switzerland on fighting gender-based violence.

Federal Councillor Alain Berset, head of the FDHA, opened the conference with a speech in which he set out Switzerland's commitment to prevent and combat gender-based violence.

For the FDFA, women's human rights are a priority of Swiss human rights policy. Violations of women's human rights however do not occur only in other countries, they happen in Switzerland too, and the protection of these rights demands both a legal framework and targeted measures, as the FDFA Secretary-General, Benno B├Ąttig, explained.

By signing and ratifying various international conventions, such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Switzerland has acknowledged the need to take measures to prevent and combat domestic violence, human trafficking and forced prostitution, genital mutilation and forced marriage.

The national conference addressed the most important international legal instruments on preventing and combating gender-based violence, with the discussion focusing on the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, also known as the "Istanbul Convention", which Switzerland signed in summer 2013, and on the results of this year's United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) on this issue.

What opportunities do these international agreements open up for Switzerland? How are the agreements implemented in Switzerland by the federal and cantonal administrations, and what role does civil society have?

These questions were followed up in the framework of lectures, workshops and a "market place" with information stands. The conference not only offered insights into the latest developments at the international level but also a space to present and discuss innovative forward-looking projects on the prevention and elimination of gender violence at the federal and cantonal levels.

Address for enquiries

Ms Sylvie Durrer, director FOGE
Tel: +41 (0)31 322 68 40

FDFA Information
Tel: +41 (31) 322 31 53


Federal Department of Home Affairs

Federal Office for Gender Equality

Federal Department of Foreign Affairs